The government’s latest round of Brexit technical notices lays bare the “grisly prospect” of a ‘no-deal’ exit from the EU, and could even sound the death knell for UK protected food names, industry bodies have warned.

A fresh batch of 24 papers - outlining how businesses should prepare for the scenario - was published by the Department for Exiting the EU yesterday.

However, the papers, which detail how suppliers will need to make significant changes to labelling, in addition to new rules on exporting animal and animal products, showed that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would have “a severe impact on UK food and drink supplies and trade” from next March, said FDF CEO Ian Wright.

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Those wishing to continue exporting animal products and live animals to the EU would be required to apply for an Export Health Certificate signed off by an official veterinarian. Consignments would also need to travel through a Border Inspection Post within the EU.

Another paper outlined the need for businesses to remove all references to the EU in origin labelling, and for European companies to carry a UK address on products sold in the UK.

But the government’s most contentious proposals centred on the future of protected food names, argued Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of the UK Protected Food Names Association. He warned the UK’s 86 food products that carried an EU Protected Geographical Indication logo faced an uncertain future.

The government is proposing products with PGI protection such as Melton Mowbray Pork Pies and Anglesey Sea Salt would need to be relabelled using a new UK logo that would be “no more burdensome to producers”. Consultation will start in the spring on a new protected food names system.

However, O’Callaghan warned the plans were “too little too late” and riddled with problems.

“The government says the UK would no longer be required to recognise EU PGI status, while also saying there should be no reason the EU shouldn’t recognise this new UK logo,” he said. “That looks like they are trying to have their cake and eat it. Why would the EU agree to that?”

O’Callaghan added that an alternative suggestion whereby UK producers could apply for EU collective marks or EU certification marks was also flawed, as many smaller companies would not have the resources to employ the legal support to register with the EU’s Intellectual Property Office. Meanwhile, planning for a new UK scheme was “too late” and would leave producers exposed after Brexit day in March 2019.

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NFU president Minette Batters, who said the publication of the latest tranche of technical notices confirmed a ‘no-deal’ scenario would be “catastrophic for British agriculture”, echoed his concerns over the government’s preparations. She warned farmers faced an “an immediate trade embargo for many of their products”.

BRC head of food policy Andrew Opie said the papers showed the industry faced “more delays, extra costs and an explosion of red tape” particularly for products such as fresh meat, fish and dairy products.

Meanwhile, National Pig Association CEO Zoe Davies warned a ‘no deal’ could leave the UK pig industry facing a disastrous situation where exports to the EU are blocked but imports continue to flood in.

“If exports are blocked but we continue importing pigmeat from the EU in large quantities, as the government appears willing to do, it would blow a huge hole through the economics of the UK pig sector.

“Because of carcase balance issues, the UK would be swamped with pigmeat that had little value on the domestic market, dragging down the pig price and making it very difficult for many pig businesses to continue operating.”