UK Meat producers started sending carcasses into the EU to butcher before reimporting as they fight a shortage of labour.
British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), says that producers send beef to Ireland because of a lack of butchers in the area.
Pork producers will soon begin to send pigs to Holland for butchering, packing and other activities.
This meat cannot be labeled as British pork to sell in the UK.
According to the BMPA, the move will cost an additional £1,500 for each lorry load of carcasses. The cost of the move includes all transport costs and any Brexit requirements like an export health certificate.
A spokesperson from BMPA stated to the BBC that “it is what must be done to combat the problem.”
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The culling has been done after post-Brexit shortages in staff and attoir capacity have caused the death of over 10,000 healthy pigs.
The sector is facing a shortage of skilled workers and exporting problems, Covid-19. This has led to a large backlog in pork exports, with the UK being a major exporter.
According to reports, staffing levels have fallen at least 15% from their normal levels.
The BMPA stated that “Immigration Rules Need to Be Relaxed” so experienced individuals can be hired without the need for training to resolve immediate issues.
The next step is to attract, recruit, and train people from the UK. We expect this to take 18 months, if not longer, to get these people trained.
To enhance the existing government support, key courses should be added. We don’t see any food-related courses.
The UK government approved 800 temporary visas last month for qualified overseas butchers who will be allowed to stay in Britain for six-months. But, they are not expected to arrive until the end November, according to meat processors and farmers.
DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, refused to discuss how many applications it had received.
Also, the government stated that cold storage would be funded for carcasses. Meanwhile, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board launched a cull and rendering scheme which dedicates a plant to animal disposal.
Farmers have criticized the decision as insufficient or inadequate.
Nick Allen, the chief executive officer of BMPA, stated that “we have been saying we’re between 10,000-12,000 short of these kinds of workers. 800 doesn’t go very far. It has been very clearly made clear that it is only for six month and then they go again.”
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