UK- The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) has warned the new UK regulations set to come into force in December could prevent thousands of British meat producers from exporting to the European Union.

According to BMPA, the regulation requires farms wishing to export to the EU to provide documents signed by vets that confirm visits to farms rather than the current system of farmer declaration was not achievable by the government’s 13 December deadline.

It estimated the new rules, which the association said have not been demanded by the EU (where a total of 72% of the UK’s meat exports go), would take over a year to implement, partly due to a shortage of vets.

“If regulatory changes about to be introduced by Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) … are allowed to go ahead on that date, a significant amount of the UK’s meat production will become non-compliant for export to the EU overnight,” the BMPA said in a letter to Defra minister Mark Spencer.

It warned of a “devastating effect” on farmers, auction markets, and meat processors, an immediate impact on UK livestock prices, and disruption to the supply chain.

“This in turn will drive food price inflation for consumers as the industry is forced to recover lost export revenue and additional costs through higher prices,” it said.

The letter, calling for an urgent meeting with the government, is signed by a dozen industry organizations including the British Poultry Association, the British Pig Association, the National Sheep Association, and the National Farmers Union.

A spokesperson of Defra confirmed the ministry was aware of the concerns raised by the industry about the process of providing evidence of regular vet visits and said the department was engaging with businesses and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to try and ease the burden on exporters.

BMPA slams Global Burden of Disease’s 2020 findings as being unreliable

Meanwhile, BMPA has also challenged the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2020 findings on the consumption of red meat.

The finding that eating red meat is harmful was first published in The Lancet medical journal in October 2020.

The BPMA has accused The Lancet of failing to ensure due diligence was performed on the study, noting that it was not peer-reviewed and did not adhere to standards required by The Lancet for such research.

“We believe that we should keep studying the effects of food on our health, but we should only use evidence that meets the highest standards of scientific scrutiny and integrity on which to base advice to the public. If a study is proved to be wrong, it should not be used and should be withdrawn from publication” said the BMPA.

BMPA’s challenges follow correspondence last month in The Lancet from the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF), The Academy of Nutrition Sciences, and a team of scientists, led by Prof Alice Stanton of the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland.

The lead author of the GBD research group that published the original paper already confirmed in March 2022 that the finding that red meat is harmful is unreliable.

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