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Food News

27th May 2024

World’s largest food awards will now be partly judged in Ireland to avoid Brexit red tape


A judging panel session will be moved from the UK to Ireland

Despite being considered to be a very British success story, some of the judging for the Great Taste Awards will be held outside of the UK for the first time in its 30-year history.

Post-Brexit import controls on products have forced the organisers of the world’s largest food awards, to hold a judging panel outside the UK for the first time in the awards’ history. On Sunday, the judges will descend on Tipperary’s Clonmel spending three days tasting products that have become much harder to bring to the UK.

The awards celebrate the best products on the planet, which includes the 13,672 samples sent to the Great Taste judges from 115 countries. The red tape being encountered as a result of Brexit has created a headache in terms of receiving this number of samples. Since January of this year, anyone sending meat, dairy or fish products to the UK has been instructed to find a vet willing to fill out a seven-page form confirming that the products are free from disease. In April, exporters also had to pay a fee of £29 for each product sent to the UK, whether it was for commercial or personal use, whether it was a box of Tayto or a box of Irish beef.

John Farrand, the managing director of the Guild of Fine Food said, “The friction at the borders has tripped us up this year. We’re a bellwether for the wider problems in the market. It’s irritating for us because it’s going to cost us a lot more money to go and judge in Ireland. We’re going to judge [in Clonmel, Co Tipperary] to help the smaller food and drink producers who can’t cope with the paperwork and the cost,” while speaking to The Guardian.

The Guardian spoke to Sally Ferns Barnes, who founded the Woodcock Smokery in West Cork, who won the supreme champion at the 2006 Great Taste awards for her cold-smoked wild Atlantic salmon.

Barnes is not entering this year as she is unable to offer her product to UK consumers, despite once being stocked in Neal’s Yard Dairy. As the last Irish producer to work exclusively with wild salmon, she has encountered problems with the paperwork to export to the UK.

Some judging will still take place in the UK, with the organisers having an office in Gillingham, Dorset and in central London.

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