DUP MP Sammy Wilson has written to MPs after a story in the Belfast Telegraph highlighted a decision to turn back a load of vegetarian burgers which had been set to enter Northern Ireland because of how a Spanish vet had written the letter ‘i’.
The MP said the decision, made during a protocol check, shows the “madness” and “costly impacts” of European Union checks on goods coming into Northern Ireland.
Peter Summerton, the managing director of McCulla Transport in Lisburn, said the incident was one example of how his business was facing “stifling bureaucracy" as a result of the NI Protocol, which the DUP has railed against.
Mr Summerton said the protocol had added significant costs to his business, as well as delays.
The rejection of 60 cases of ‘beanie burgers’, with 48 packs in each case, had resulted in a delay of a week, he added. The mainly plant-based burgers required veterinary health certificates because they contained cheese and egg.
The certificates are a requirement of the EU for animal-based products and applied to the burgers because they were for a foodservice customer, rather than for supermarket retail.
East Antrim MP Mr Wilson has now written to MPs and Peers across Parliament highlighting the issue.
Mr Wilson said: “As Parliament considers the NI Protocol Bill, legislators need to be aware of the impact checks are having. They are driving up the cost of transporting goods and reducing choice on our shelves.
“In this case, a consignment was turned away because one letter was deemed wrong. This is incredible cost for the supplier and delay for the customer meanwhile Brussels seems only interested in stopping goods coming from Great Britain to Northern Ireland rather than pragmatic solutions.
“The rigorous implementers in Sinn Fein, SDLP and the Alliance Party want more of this. They not only want the current mad checks, but they also want the Protocol fully implemented so there would be more checks.
“This case is another example which highlights the necessity of the Government pressing ahead with their unilateral action as Brussels is not interested in flexibilities and is instead focused on nonsensical checks on goods which pose little if any risk to the EU single market.”