THE managing director of Scotland’s largest independent dairy has urged the UK Government to rethink its post-Brexit labelling scheme.

The "Not for EU" scheme – which is set to be introduced in October – hopes to reduce time spent examining goods travelling to Northern Ireland. It would require the words "Not for EU" to be printed on all products not being shipped to the continent.

Robert Graham, managing director of Graham’s Family Dairy, argued it will rack up massive bills for businesses throughout the country.

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He also highlighted that the proposed transition would cost his own firm £300,000 before even considering the cost of labour time, complexity, and additional running costs.

The move would lead to a change in packaging for over 300 of the dairy firm’s lines, equating to millions of units per week.

According to Dairy UK, the trade association for the UK dairy industry, the financial cost per business of changing labelling alone has been quoted as up to £500,000, and up to £2 million per business when factoring in all other costs.

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Graham (below) said: “This transition will cost UK food and drink firms hundreds of thousands of pounds. For us, this is going to change the way we do things for millions of units every week, which is clearly a huge cost for a family firm. 

"The proposed requirement means that we would have to have different packaging between UK and export lines, leading to higher costs across stock, production, branding and operations."

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He added: "It feels like the UK Government is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. With some regulation already in place, the new requirements would add unjustified complexity while there is already an overwhelming feeling across the industry that it would make no difference to export trade to Northern Ireland. 

"The food industry understands the complexities of politics but we can’t help but feel this legislation will do nothing for the industry but confuse consumers, increase complexity and heighten costs by millions for the sector.”

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The Scottish Farmer reported that a recent poll by Best for Britain revealed that almost one in five (18%) have said they are less likely to buy products labelled “Not for EU”.

Graham has written and met with the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland on the matter, with the hope that plans for the new requirements are reconsidered.