NI Protocol: UK and EU agree to extend chilled meats grace period until 30 September 2021

Businesses in Great Britain will be allowed to continue moving certain chilled meat products across the Northern Ireland border after an extension was today agreed upon by the UK and EU.

The transportation of chilled meats – such as sausages, chicken nuggets, mince, and pies – to Northern Ireland was set to be prohibited from today, 01 July 2021.

But the agreement means Northern Ireland consumers will be able to buy chilled meat products from Great Britain until 30 September, giving policymakers time to make permanent arrangements.

The move comes after the UK agreed to align chilled meat food standards – such as product-level labelling – with EU health and safety standards as part of the Withdrawal Act, but requested a “grace period” to allow British businesses to put arrangements in place.

The grace period was set to end in December last year, but has now been extended twice due to coronavirus disruption.

Commenting on the extension, Cabinet Minister Lord Frost said: “We are pleased we have been able to agree a sensible extension on chilled meats moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland – one that does not require rules in the rest of the UK to align with future changes in EU agrifood rules.

“This is a positive first step but we still need to agree a permanent solution – Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom and its consumers should be able to enjoy products they have bought from Great Britain for years.”

He added, however, that the Northern Ireland protocol continues to disrupt and provide uncertainty for UK businesses.

“The chilled meats issue is only one of a very large number of problems with the way the Protocol is currently operating, and solutions need to be found with the EU to ensure it delivers on its original aims: to protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, safeguard Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom, and protect the EU’s single market for goods.”

More information about the agreement and the extension can be found here.

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