Food Businesses in Ireland are being urged to keep up their preparations for changes to the UK’s controls and regulations for imports.

Minister of State with responsibility for new market development Martin Heydon said this evening (Wednesday, October 6) that business operators should continue to prepare for the introduction of controls on exports of certain foods and agricultural goods into Britain.

The changes have already been postponed on a number of occasions. However, Minister Haydon stressed that they have not been cancelled and are still set to be implemented.

The minister addressed the 24th meeting of the Consultative Committee of Stakeholders on Brexit today, where he said those working in the Ireland-Britain food supply chain should use the additional time to “intensify and refine their preparations” for the changes, which are now set to apply from July 1, of next year.

The Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) controls were originally supposed to come into effect on October 1. The UK government announced on September 14, that these would be postponed.

“Given the volume and value of trade in both directions and the integrated nature of agri-food supply chains, the UK choice to leave the Single Market and Customs Union has had a profound impact on the trading environment and meant unavoidable new burdens on companies through the additional requirements and controls,” Minister Heydon said.

“It is now over nine months since the end of the transition period and we see evidence of businesses adapting to the permanent changes brought about by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU,” the minister added.

“The government is committed to continuing to support the sector in adapting to these new trading arrangements and in preparing for the further Brexit-related changes coming in 2022.”

The stakeholder committee also heard updates from the Department of Foreign Affairs on recent developments at EU level relating to EU-UK relations, including the ongoing engagement on the implementation of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.