A small error in the paperwork – a box ticked by mistake – and the tanker of butter oil was held at French customs for five days, with veterinary authorities at the border threatening to destroy it. The debacle nearly cost the tanker’s exporter, dairy company County Milk, a six-figure sum. After fraught negotiations, the cargo was eventually repatriated.
“You don’t need too many of those to be destroyed and you are in dire straits,” says Phil Langslow, trading director at County Milk, the UK’s largest privately owned dairy ingredients business.
While trade from Britain to the EU has begun to recover from the Brexit disruption earlier this year, some sectors are still in trouble, none more so than the dairy industry.
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