Some countries are refusing to accept NI meat and dairy produce
The message that NI produce is free from foot-and-mouth disease is getting across to the rest of the world, the deputy first minister has said.
Martin McGuinness was speaking to reassure local firms which experienced problems exporting to Japan, Germany and south America.
Northern Ireland is exempt from the export ban imposed in the rest of the UK after the Surrey outbreak.
But there has been confusion and some importers are wary.
“Whilst there may have been some initial confusion in many different parts of the world over the use of the words ‘United Kingdom’ and ‘Great Britain’, I think we are now making it clear to people that the island of Ireland is totally and absolutely free of foot-and-mouth,” Mr McGuinness said.
MEP Jim Allister has said any attempt by Germany to refuse NI exports of dairy and pork products, would be an unacceptable breach of EU rules.
He contacted the office of the internal market commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, after shipments of sausage meat to Germany had been cancelled.
“I’m saying to Commissioner McCreevy, who’s in charge of the internal market, that it’s up to him to stop this defiance of EU rules,” Mr Allister said.
“It really is quite appalling that when success is obtained in securing exemption for Northern Ireland, which puts us in the category of any other part of Europe with the exception of GB, that there should be a member state who would seek to defy that.”
Meanwhile, First Minister Ian Paisley has spoken to the Foreign Office about the difficulties encountered by some NI firms shipping meat and dairy products abroad.
Precautions are being taken at Fermanagh County show
Disinfectant mats are being used as a precaution againt the disease
A shipment of pork from County Tyrone was stopped from entering Japan and a local dairy company claimed Germany had refused its produce.
Mr Paisley said he would stress that NI had not been affected by the outbreak.
Dale Farm said orders were at risk after what it claimed was Germany’s decision to ban all UK milk products.
Difficulties were also being encountered in shipping dairy products to South American markets.
The pork stopped in Japan was sent from Grampian Foods in Cookstown.
Hugh McReynolds, the firm’s managing director, said it was not good news for Northern Ireland’s pig farmers.
Grampian said it was also experiencing difficulties in shipping its products to the US and Germany.
On Monday, Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew’s confirmed that Northern Ireland was to be allowed to continue to export meat and dairy products.