Eurocrats are insisting exports of dozens of fresh meat products to the province must be banned due to the bloc’s red tape. But in last-minute crisis talks, British officials have refused to give in to demands that would see supplies of much-loved foods being cut off to the region. A UK Government spokesman said: “We will ensure that there is no ban on trade in sausages from Great Britain into Northern Ireland.
“We are working to find an appropriate solution through the Joint Committee process.”
It is understood Downing Street has vowed to retaliate with a similar block on Irish farmers’ produce from entering the British market.
Dublin has called for eurocrats to come to their senses because the ban would plunge thousands of its businesses into chaos.
Irish agriculture minister Charlie McConalogue described the prospect of a blockade, which covers minced beef and pork, as “concerning”.
He said: “It’s really important there’s very strong engagement to look at the means by which this issue can be resolved.”
Under EU food safety rules, chilled meat products are not allowed to be imported from outside the bloc.
This means Northern Irish supermarkets would be cut off from their suppliers on the mainland while the province continues to follow EU rules.
The clash is seperate from the EU’s recent threat to ban all food exports from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
Sources close to Michel Barnier have conceded a Brexit trade deal would not provide an answer to the row.
“We can’t have a state of affairs where UK supermarkets can’t supply their own branches in Northern Ireland with their own processed meat.
“That’s not something we can countenance. The EU has got to understand the relationship between the UK and Ireland is different.
“If they’ve got any respect for the people of Ireland, both north and south, they should find a means of resolving this problem.”