Government sets out tighter rules to stop mislabelling of food
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After Brexit, the government will tighten rules for moving goods from Northern Ireland to the UK.

As far as moving to the rest of the UK is concerned, it concerns the definition of which goods qualify for “unfettered access.”

After feedback from the food industry, rules regulating food movement are being tightened.

GB could be denied access to goods made in other countries by simply relabelling them in Northern Ireland.

According to Stuart Anderson, head of public affairs at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, agri-food companies will welcome the proposal for additional protections.

The twin objectives of protecting Northern Ireland’s world-renowned produce and preserving barrier-free access to GB will be critical, he said.

Current qualifying goods definitions are very broad, and the government intended to narrow them.

During Brexit negotiations, the UK government promised Northern Ireland goods unfettered access.

Boris Johnson famously advised Northern Ireland businesses to throw away forms for moving goods to Great Britain if they were asked.

In November 2019, he said: “There won’t be any forms, checks, or barriers – you’ll have unfettered access.”

According to the Qualifying NI Goods Regulations, any goods in free circulation in Northern Ireland qualify.

Food and animal feed products will need to be owned or processed by an NI registered business in order to qualify as NI goods.

To ensure Northern Ireland traders benefit from unfettered access, the government is doing this.

Northern Ireland’s food manufacturers must already register with their district councils or be approved by the Food Standards Agency, so the rules do not add any additional burden to them.