In the first of a series of columns highlighting some of the more idiosyncratic bureaucratic hoops that we have to jump through to do business here in Gibraltar, M&S’s Chris Walker tells us how much trouble a humble can of meat can cause. Any similar anecdotes or experiences gratefully received at email@example.com
Although the current rules are in place to make sure that any meat products brought into Gibraltar are fit for human consumption our regulations here are now so dated that we’re left with the following farcical scenario. When M&S import a can from the UK containing any meat products – for example a can of chilli con carne – we have to pay a DEFRA certified vet to go to our warehouse in the UK and inspect a sealed can, (yes, a sealed can, he doesn’t have to open it!) then sign it off as fit for export to Gibraltar. This is despite the fact that that same can of chilli con carne is sold in over 300 of our UK stores every day and has already passed all UK/EU food standard regulations. And yet we here in Gib still have to pay a vet to sign the can off for export. Where’s the sense in that?!
STOP PRESS: Never say that we here at B2B don’t ever bring you good news… we’ve just heard that the Food Environmental Agency have changed the rules and will now accept a letter from the meat supplier in question detailing their Health Certificate number. So now there’s no need for a DEFRA vet to inspect a stack of cans – not good news for the vet, but great for businesses in Gibraltar.