Saved your bacon: Meat industry assures UK shoppers no bacon shortage as Danish travel banned over Covid mink

Unaccompanied shipping bypasses restrictions on hauliers

Liam James
Tuesday 10 November 2020 15:02 GMT
Denmark removed from travel corridors list

Fears of a bacon shortage resulting from the government's travel ban on Denmark have been dismissed by a meat industry body.

The Scandinavian country is the UK's largest source of imported pork and Danish bacon lines the shelves of supermarkets nationwide.

The UK government imposed a travel ban on Denmark after a mutated strain of the coronavirus was found spreading through the country’s mink farms, raising alarm that Britain would face a bacon shortage due to hauliers being blocked at the border.

But meat industry figures have dismissed these fears, claiming the process of importing pork and bacon does not require Danish hauliers to cross over into the UK. 

“There is no issue as it stands with the import of bacon,” David Lindars, head of technical operations at the  British Meat Processors Association, told The Independent, "this was discussed last night in a very big meeting with [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] and industry figures from processing and farming."

Mr Lindars said bacon is ferried across to the UK on unaccompanied trailers without need for drivers in Denmark to make the crossing. 

The Danish drivers drop off the cargo at a port, leaving it to be shipped across and picked up by drivers on the British end.

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed the meeting with meat industry figures had taken place and said there was “no concern” over Covid transmission or a bacon shortage resulting from the travel restrictions.

Ministers imposed the travel ban after a mutated strain of Covid was found to have been transmitted from mink to humans.

An exemption in the travel ban for hauliers was removed over the weekend, meaning any freight drivers who are not UK citizens and have passed through Denmark in the last fortnight will be turned away at the British border.

The freight industry also dismissed fears that imports will be affected by the travel ban.

Logistics UK, a freight trade organisation, said: “Importers can switch between transport modes to ensure that products still arrive.”

“Much of the ferry transport between the UK and Denmark is sent in unaccompanied trailers, so drivers simply collect their loads from ports, with no need to travel across the border," the trade body said in a statement.

Downing Street said the travel ban was imposed as a precaution on the advice of the government's chief medical officer.

The prime minister's official spokesperson said: “We will keep our response under constant review but the purpose of these measures is a precautionary step to safeguard UK public health.

“There are no fur farms in the UK so we're not at risk in that regard. There's no evidence to suggest that this new strain is currently in the UK.”

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