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FSAI advice to all food businesses currently importing food through the Northern Ireland Border Control Post

Monday, 30 October 2023

The FSAI has been advised that members of the Northern Ireland public service alliance, which includes official veterinarians and meat inspectors who carry out border control post controls on foods of animal origin and meat inspections in approved premises, have announced industrial action this week from 30 October – 3 November 2023 inclusive.

This action is expected to impact services provided by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Veterinary Service Animal Health Group in Northern Ireland, including the delivery of official controls and other official activities across sanitary and phytosanitary inspection facilities at border control posts, field operations, approved slaughterhouses, cutting plants and game handling establishments.

Therefore, this strike action will result in disruption at Northen Ireland border control posts (BCPs) affecting the ability to carry out official controls on consignments coming from third countries (including) GB that are destined for the market in Ireland.

Potential impact on operators importing product to Ireland

Food Business Operators (FBOs) opting to import products of animal origin through a border control post in Ireland as an alternative route will be subject to the same import requirements and controls that apply in any EU BCP including Northern Ireland. Importers should ensure appropriate prenotification through TRACES and provide the relevant documentation, including health certificates. All CHEDs (Common Health Entry Documents) must be validated for goods before leaving the border control post (BCP) of importation.

Potential impact of industrial action on slaughterhouses in Ireland

The industrial action may have an impact where slaughterhouses in Northern Ireland cannot operate as a result of this industrial action. This may affect the capacity of slaughterhouses in Ireland, should animals be sent for slaughter here. Slaughterhouses should ensure they operate within their approved throughput capacities and in compliance with relevant legislation.

Potential impact on retailers in Ireland

This action could mean retailers who normally use Northen Ireland border control posts (BCPs) to import product of animal origin may consider importing their products through an alternative route.  

Products not impacted

The strike action should have no impact on the importation of fish or fishery products, or food products of non-animal origin, imported through a Northern Ireland border control post (BCP). Controls on the importation of such products are not conducted by those involved in this industrial action.