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Parma Ham and Spanish Chorizo at Risk: Brexit Checks Could Empty UK Shelves

UK supermarkets and delis may see a shortage of specialty meats like Parma ham and Spanish chorizo due to the introduction of expensive Brexit checks.

Warnings have been issued to Rishi Sunak's government about significant supply issues with EU meat and dairy products as additional red tape and inspections become mandatory for imports starting in April. 

Industry leaders indicate that certain suppliers, particularly those dealing in specialty products like French cheeses, may opt to withdraw from the UK due to the increased costs and considerable challenges associated with shipping goods.

Leaders in the food sector are cautioning about potential supply challenges in fruits and vegetables, highlighting concerns about price increases and possible shortages as additional controls on fresh produce are set to be implemented later in the year. 

This follows earlier alarms about the impact on imports of plants and flowers, with farming chiefs emphasizing that new controls represent an "existential threat" to horticultural firms in Britain. Mr. Sunak is under pressure to enter into fresh negotiations with Brussels concerning food and agricultural standards to prevent a significant regression in Britain's supply chains.

The Cold Chain Federation, representing UK firms importing chilled and frozen food, asserts that EU suppliers will incur costs for product inspections by veterinary specialists before shipment across the Channel. 

Meanwhile, the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) cautions that the diversity of specialty goods in UK stores may diminish once physical checks commence in April.

Initially slated for commencement in 2023, the extensive post-Brexit border checks on imports have been postponed by Mr. Sunak's government to 2024. This decision resulted from concerns that the associated burden might contribute to elevated food inflation amid the prevailing cost of living crisis. Despite appeals from leaders in the food sector, Mr. Sunak has rejected proposals for a new agreement with the EU aimed at minimizing red tape.

 The government spokesperson emphasized the ongoing commitment to establishing "the most advanced border in the world” after Brexit. 


“The controls that the new model introduces play a vital role in keeping the UK safe, protecting our food supply chains and farming sector from damaging disease outbreaks", they added. 


Edited by Tanya Kekic

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