Brexit blamed for unsafe meat and America Swine Fever

Boris Johnson discusses partygate and Brexit three years on

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Poor post-Brexit border checks are making way for unsafe meat into the UK, claims industry experts as they worry about American Swine Fever. Britain was supposed to introduce its own “sanitary and phytosanitary” post Brexit border checks on fresh food in July last year.

However, the plan was then scrapped by Brexit Opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg in April.

Since Brexit occurred two years ago, the checks to guarantee animal and plant health have been delayed four times.

They are currently not due to be implemented until the end of 2023.

According to the experts, their absence has left a “glaring hole” for unscrupulous businesses or criminals to exploit, and in one example point to a van load of unrefrigerated pork that was due to be delivered around Britain.

The British Meat Processors Association told i news it is particularly worried about imported pork.

David Lindars, the association’s Technical Operations Director, told the publication: “We are concerned about the potential spread of African Swine Fever.

“We are hearing anecdotally of white vans arriving from parts of Eastern Europe full of meat being sold in local markets.

“That meat shouldn’t be coming here. I was talking to the National Food Crime Unit and I asked them can you show me some evidence.

“At the last meeting two weeks ago we were shown photos from a coordinated stop at a couple of ports.

“One van had a chest freezer that wasn’t plugged in full of pork with delivery addresses.”

Mr Lindars also claimed that the vans are coming from areas where African Swine Fever cases have been detected.

New checks, making more use of technology, would come in, but not until “the end of 2023”.

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Nick Allen, CEO of the British Meat Processors Association, added: “We need a modern, digital system and I hope the delays mean we do it in a more sophisticated way, but I rather fear we may not.”

Another leading food safety expert, Professor Erik Millstone, from the University of Sussex, told i that the current risk of food fraud is greater than ever.

He pointed to a major reduction in the level of government resources invested in food safety – funding for the Food Standards Agency fell by 51 per cent between 2009-2019, while the number of food standards staff at local authorities fell by 60 per cent.

He said: “The number of tests that the public sector can now do has been substantially reduced by government cuts, but then there’s the question of what are the retailers doing

“Are they testing animal DNA in the products on their shelves?”

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