Food, no-deal and the Irish border

Food, no-deal and the Irish border

Food, no-deal and the Irish border

Gary McFarlane, Rosalind Sharpe, Tim Lang, Tony Lewis, Erik Millstone, Terry Marsden

This Briefing shows how a no-deal exit from the EU would have immediate, serious, adverse impacts on the food and agriculture sectors in Northern Ireland, and on food flows on the island of Ireland, where the sectors are now deeply integrated across the border. Even though the UK Government has said it will not impose checks or tariffs on the UK side of the Irish border, the Republic will be legally obliged as an EU member state bordering a ‘third country’ – which is what the UK will become – to apply checks to guarantee the safety and integrity of foods entering the EU. This briefing argues that a no-deal Brexit would put a huge burden on food businesses trading across the Irish border, as there would be no resources or procedures in place to help them with mounting costs and paperwork. This will lead to a disruption in food supply and will have an impact on consumers, especially those on low incomes. The briefing recommends that the Government and all parliamentarians work to avert a no-deal Brexit; that effective governance be restored to Northern Ireland as soon as possible; and that public and Local Authorities be given the resources they need to fulfil the new regulatory requirements.

About the authors

The CIEH 114th Conference at the East Midlands Conference Centre. Day One. October 2014. Photographer Freia Turland m:07875514528

Gary McFarlane

As Director of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in Northern Ireland, Gary works with government, local authorities, universities, non-governmental organisations and the private sector to develop ‘healthy’ policy. Much of this work seeks to highlight the critical links between environment and health in the context of sustainable development and public health. He has written and presented on these topics at regional, national and international level. Gary has extensive experience of food safety and standards through previous appointments in the Environmental Health service in NI. He has also recently served as a member of the SafeFood all island Scientific Advisory Committee. He was involved in setting up the Belfast Food Network, which recently helped Belfast City achieve the bronze Sustainable Food City Award. He was the inaugural Chair of its Advisory Board and remains an active Board member.


Rosalind Sharpe

Rosalind Sharpe is a research fellow at the Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London. She leads on Brexit for the Food Research Collaboration, where her work involves bringing together academic and civil society knowledge of food systems. Her research focuses on the sustainability of food systems, including the social aspects of sustainability.


Tim Lang

Tim Lang has been Professor of Food Policy at City, University of London, Centre for Food Policy since 2002. He founded the Centre in 1994. After a PhD in social psychology at Leeds University, he became a hill farmer in the 1970s in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire which shifted his attention to food policy, where it has been ever since. For years, he’s engaged in academic and public research and debate about its direction, locally to globally. His abiding interest is how policy addresses the mixed challenge of ensuring that food is good for the environment, health, social justice, and consumers. What is a good food system? How is ours measured and measuring up? He has been Vice-President of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (since 1999).

2016 Tony Lewis photo

Tony Lewis

Tony Lewis is a Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner, a Fellow of CIEH and is currently Associate Professor at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU). Prior to joining RAU, Tony was employed as Head of Policy for the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health where he developed a significant media profile with numerous appearances on tv and radio. Tony also has many years experience as an academic specialising in Environmental Health at Manchester Polytechnic, Nottingham Trent University and the School of Public Health Medicine at Nottingham University. Tony has also contributed to the Master of Studies programme in Public Health at Homerton School of Health Sciences at Cambridge University and has been a long-standing Associate Lecturer in Health and Safety Law at the University of Surrey.

Erik Millstone talking High Res May2010

Erik Millstone

Erik Millstone is an Emeritus Professor of Science Policy at the University of Sussex.  His first degree was in Physics, followed by three in Philosophy.  Since 1974 he has been researching into the causes, consequences and regulation of technological change in the food and chemical industries. His research focus has extended over food additives, pesticides and veterinary medicines, as well as BSE, GM foods and obesity. Since 1988 he has been analysing in more general terms the role of scientific experts, evidence and advice in public policy-making.

Having conducted comparative studies of food safety policy-making regimes across numerous jurisdictions, he contributed to articulating proposals for the creation of the UK’s Food Standards Agency, and led a study for the European Parliament reviewing the proposal to create the European Food Safety Authority. In the past 12 years his researches have extended into food and agricultural policies in developing countries.  Much of his current research focuses on the implications of Brexit for food security in the UK.

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Cancer Research UK Senior Nurse, Barbara Moore launching Shine Cardiff 2010. 
Kyrles View Barn,Warrage Road Raglan.NP15 2LD

Terry Marsden

Professor Terry Marsden researches the interdisciplinary social science and applied policy fields of rural geography, rural sociology, environmental sociology, geography and planning. He has published over 150 international journal articles, book chapters or books. This includes 20 research monographs and edited collections.

Professor Marsden’s body of work ranges from original theoretical work in the field, through to empirical analysis and emerging policy impacts and analysis. It includes wide ranging work on: the socio-economic restructuring of agriculture; theorisations and empirical investigations of rural development; analysis of agri-food chains and networks; and critical commentaries in the emerging fields of environmental sociology and environmental planning. The empirical work has extended from the UK, Europe, Brazil, the Caribbean and now China.

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1 Comment

  1. Niki says:

    I’d love to see the papers updated with the implications for food prices in Northern Ireland with the new deal, which puts the border in the Irish Sea.
    As a household of two, with one pensioner and one disabled person I have grave concerns about what this means for our food prices.
    I’m glad to see someone out there actually looking at these risks – please, please do a new analysis, as I fear we are looking at a very hungry winter – at the least – ahead!

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