The new Brexit trade rules are posing threat to food supply chains with a number of supermarkets facing empty shelves.
Heads of the leading food retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury`s, Asda, Iceland, Co-Op and Marks & Spencer have written to cabinet office minister Michael Gove. They warned that the new border requirements coming into force in April could heighten the current problems.
Britain`s departure from the EU customs union has created new barriers to trade across the Irish Channel. All animal-based food products moving from Britain to Northern Ireland will be required to have vet-signed export health certificates.
A government spokesperson said: “A new dedicated team in Government has already been set up and will be working with supermarkets, the food industry and the Northern Ireland Executive to develop ways to streamline the movement of goods in accordance with the protocol.
“The grace period for supermarkets and their suppliers is working well, goods continue to flow effectively between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and we are working intensively with industry as new requirements come in,” he added.
In a letter to the UK government, supermarket chief executives asked the government to work with them “to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Northern Irish grocery market.”
After the transition period ended on January 1, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Tesco all faced challenges in supply after the customs paperwork was introduced.