Meat factories in Britain are struggling with the new trading arrangements that are required for exporting to the EU, a committee of MPs has been told.

Nick Allen from the British Meat Processors Association said that whilst “teething problems” were being sorted out, his members “fundamentally believe that the system is flawed”.

“It feels like we have stepped back to the 1950s. We have lorry drivers going round with huge quantities of paper,” he said.

Allen told MPs that there is significant scope for paperwork to be digitalised, particularly export health certificates which are required for moving products from Britain to the EU.

However, due to the NI Protocol, abattoirs in NI are not required to have these certificates when exporting to the EU.

“We have got to have a better system than this, otherwise there are certain markets that we are just going to lose completely, and they are not going to be replaced by sending stuff to the other side of the world,” Allen said.

The meat factory representative suggested that different ports in Europe are interpreting the new requirements differently, which adds to confusion for exporters in Britain.

“Sometimes within a border control post, it depends who is on duty. You can have someone interpreting it one way in the morning and someone interpreting it completely differently in the afternoon,” Allen said.