Dairy 'backstop' needed for free movement of milk across Border
A 'dairy backstop' will be required to guarantee continued free movement of milk across the Border post-Brexit.
Dairy processors have sought assurances from the Government that no impediments will be placed on milk imports from Northern Ireland to the South after the UK leaves the EU.
But some industry sources maintained that the retention of an all-island milk market in Ireland would necessitate restrictions on milk movements from Britain to the North.
This would certainly prompt political difficulties, since the DUP has strenuously opposed the imposition of any new Brexit-related barriers to trade between Northern Ireland and Britain.
"If the UK leaves the EU and the customs union then the only way we can continue to have free movement of milk on the island of Ireland is if Northern Irish milk is deemed Irish and complies with EU single market rules," one senior dairy sector executive explained.
"If butter or cheese is to be sold as EU produce, then it has to comply with EU Dairy Hygiene Regulations and all producers will have to have dairy hygiene certificates," he maintained.
"This means Northern Irish producers mirroring EU regulations which is effectively a backstop for the Irish dairy industry," he said.
Critically, sources within the dairy sector said restrictions on the import of milk into the North from non-EU-compliant regions of Britain will be necessary to protect the integrity of the EU single market if free movement of milk within Ireland is to be allowed post-Brexit.