As part of the SPS Certification Working Group, the British Poultry Council proposes a new process to resolve the severe restrictions to poultry meat exports. 

British poultry meat producers have faced insurmountable difficulties with Brexit red tape and disruption at the UK-EU border. With Britain being deemed a ‘third country’ on 1st January 2021, British businesses have been subjected to a number of requirements imposed on imports, including international sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) controls. Time-consuming checks have resulted in meat exports to the EU dropping sharply, with overall poultry exports decreasing in value by 69% the first quarter of the year in addition to significantly impacting business viability. Chicken specifically saw a 62% decrease in volume and a 67% decrease in value, from around £90 down to £30 million (HMRC).

British poultry meat businesses have been working incredibly hard to mitigate these barriers to put safe, affordable, and nutritious food on every table. As part of the SPS Certification Working Group, the BPC calls on the Government to resolve the severe impact on trade through a new approach:

  • Negotiate a form of mutual veterinary agreement with the EU to ease problems of trading food and feed between GB and EU and NI, and then the EU to GB when import controls take effect. Equivalence of standards is essential to time-sensitive, agile trade.
  • Improve current systems to remove bureaucracy, reduce time, error, and costs. This includes an integrated, end-to-end electronic documentation system that uses existing technology to ease the confusion and delays of paper-based systems.
  • Review requirements for inspection and certification which maintain both fairness and competitiveness. The urgency of this cannot be underestimated as we begin the countdown to the implementation of full GB import controls which will further stretch systems and resources.

BPC Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said: The bureaucracy of ‘third country’ trading is eroding the capability and profitability of exporting products of animal origin to the EU and NI. If exporting sectors, including poultry meat, are to survive and thrive under Global Britain’s established Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), new ways of managing the system must be arranged to secure the viability of British business going forward.

Government must engage with the EU to build a system that works for exporters rather than against them. Without Governmental support in investing in sufficient resources and systems, we can expect a detrimental effect on the sustainability of British poultry meat businesses, and severely impact our ability to carry on feeding the nation.”


Read the SPS Certification Working Group Report below.


SPS Certification Report FINAL 10 06 21



Read SPS Certification Working Group Press Release below.


SPS Certification WG news release



About the SPS Certification Working Group

The Working Group is made up of food and feed trade associations, and veterinary and environmental health professional organisations, working together to minimise trade friction in EHC/SPS products between GB and the EU/NI by identifying issues and proposing solutions to Government and its Agencies. The total value to the UK economy of the members of the Working Group is well in excess of £100bn per annum.

Members of the group include:

Agricultural Industries Confederation
Agriculture and Horticulture Development
Board Association of Independent Meat Suppliers
British Frozen Food Federation
British Meat Processors Association
British Poultry Council
British Veterinary Association
Chilled Food Association
Cold Chain Federation
Council for Responsible Nutrition UK
Fresh Produce Consortium
Foodchain and Biomass Renewables Association
Health Food Manufacturers Association
International Meat Trade Association
National Farmers Union of England and Wales
Pet Food Manufacturers Association
Proprietary Association of GB
Provision Trade Federation
Rice Association
Specialist Cheesemakers Association
UK Flour Millers