British sausage makers have warned Brexit could halt their exports to the EU thanks to a wrangle over health certificates.
The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) said the EU certificate they will need to fill out for processed meat products – including sausages and burgers – does not exist yet.
Chiefs are worried the government has not made enough progress in negotiating the new arrangements before a transition period expires on December 31.
BMPA Chief Executive Rick Allen said if the issue is not resolved, it will be a major blow to the £8.2billion UK meat processing industry – which does 75-90% of its trade with EU countries
He added: “At the moment, people forget this – we don’t ‘export’ anything to Europe, we just send stuff … At the moment you just put it in a van and send it.
“In the future, we will actually have legislation to go through.”
The new rules would apply to British products sent to EU countries and Northern Ireland.
Mr Allen said: “It’s going to be something that needs to be put in place and something the government needs to get on and negotiate.
“We are feeling at the moment that they are not getting on and getting some of these processes in place that we need.”
It comes as the UK and EU both play hardball ahead of talks on a trade deal after Brexit.
Last night David Frost, Boris Johnson’s lead negotiator, insisted Britain would not bow to calls to accept EU standards and rules as the clock ticks down.
Speaking in Brussels, he said: “To think that we might accept EU supervision on so-called level playing field issues simply fails to see the point of what we are doing.
“It isn’t a simple negotiating position which might move under pressure – it is the point of the whole project. That’s also why we will not extend the transition beyond the end of this year.
“At that point we recover our political and economic independence in full – why would we want to postpone it? In short, we only want what other independent countries have.”
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “Businesses are able to export sausages and trade on the same terms across all sectors to the EU during the transition period.
“Future trade arrangements beyond the end of the year will be agreed as part of negotiations on our future economic partnership with Europe.”