The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has urged the government to give supermarkets “urgent clarity” over labelling issues raised by the Windsor Framework.
Set to ease post-Brexit trade, the framework looks to limit the number of checks on goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland with a new red and green lane system.
However, many UK businesses are waiting on guidance for labelling, which will determine if they can trade in either the red or green lane.
As a result, BRC director of food and sustainability, Andrew Opie told a House of Lords committee that he expects initial guidance on labelling to be published within the next 10 days, the BBC reported.
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Under the new deal, when goods arrive in Northern Ireland they go through a ‘green lane’ with no checks if they are intended to stay in the region, or a ‘red lane’ if they are traveling to the EU, which will require checks.
Opie said: “Labelling is one of the requirements of using the green lane, so if we don’t know how to label the products then we shouldn’t be using the green lane and would be subject to all the checks.
“You couldn’t run a commercial supermarket by running all of their trade through the red lane, it just wouldn’t work, the numbers wouldn’t stack up.”
He has called for clarity as labelling changes could take months and worries that supermarkets are unaware of how to move food in a way that will be compliant.