Leaked George Eustice letter sets out Brexit implications for poultry sector

Frozen poultry mince, mechanically separated poultry mince and ungraded eggs will not be able to be exported to the EU after 1 January, Defra has confirmed. This is just one of a number of issues that will limit cross border trade, whether or not there is a trade deal with the EU.

The information was set out by environment secretary George Eustice in a letter sent on 10 December to trade bodies and key agri-businesses, listing the new restrictions on trade from 1 January.

This is due to EU restrictions on imports and exports relating to third party countries and means the UK will not be able to export to the EU chilled and frozen poultry mince. There will also be an EU prohibition on chilled and frozen mechanically separated poultry meat. In addition no exports will be possible of ungraded eggs. Ungraded eggs are eggs that have not gone into a packing plant, either because they go straight to the food industry, or have yet to go to the packing plant to be graded. Eggs delivered directly to the food industry come from the primary producer and are ungraded. Primary producers are unable to be registered establishments for the purposes of SPS certification and there is no model certificate for ungraded eggs.

Free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations are ongoing with the EU. However, Eustice wrote in the letter that whatever the outcome of those negotiations the UK will be a third county to the EU and will have to comply with their requirements for export health certificates (EHCs) and phytosanitary certificates. 

With or without an agreement, the UK will need to achieve its applications for third country listing in order to continue importing and exporting meat. This has still not been achieved.

“Positive technical discussions on third country listing have taken place in recent months between the EU and UK and we are working together to progress listing applications covering animal products and live animals, equivalence of plant reproductive material and plant prohibitions, and breeding bodies,” wrote Eustice.


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