UK requests 3-month delay to Northern Ireland meat checks

The U.K. has officially requested a three-month delay before an EU-required ban on chilled meat shipments from Britain to Northern Ireland comes into force under the terms of the Brexit trade protocol, according to a British government official.

The official, who is based in Belfast, confirmed that the U.K. is seeking European Commission consent to permit continued shipments of chilled meats — including sausages, meat pies, curries, lasagna and other ready-made meals — until at least September 30. The grace periods agreed by U.K. and EU negotiators in December specified this ban should come into force on June 30.

The EU is already pursuing legal action against the U.K. after Boris Johnson’s government in March failed to introduce sanitary checks as agreed on retail food products being shipped by British supermarkets to their Northern Ireland outlets.

Such checks since January have been confined to goods destined for stores in the neighboring Republic of Ireland, an EU member. The U.K. unilaterally delayed the same enforcement of sanitary standards on goods staying in Northern Ireland by six months to September 30.

The Belfast official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the U.K. had not yet received an official response from Brussels.

The European Commission did not respond to a request for comment.

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