The prime minister said soaring supermarket prices was mainly due to international fuel supply problems on Tuesday, adding: “The cost of chickens is crazy.”
But the BPC fired back at Mr Johnson on Wednesday by blaming post-Brexit trade barriers and skill shortages for the spike in production costs.
“It is not “mainly fuel” that’s the problem, as PM said in his Good Morning Britain interview. It is everything. Input costs like water, labour, energy and feed are all up,” said a BPC spokesperson on Twitter.
Citing “ongoing Brexit pressures”, the industry body added: “Combined with trade barriers, shipping delays for machinery plus a skills shortage (vets and lorry drivers), this all adds a cost that has to be recovered through the marketplace.”
Britain’s largest chicken supplier 2 Sisters has predicted that food price rises of 15 per cent will be needed to “even begin to cover the increasing cost of production”.
The BPC said the government had “repeatedly failed to acknowledge” the need for a “fair” system to help UK producers since the Brexit withdrawal deal kicked in last January.
The industry body said members had lost £85m in chicken exports to the EU last year because of unreciprocated controls.
Poultry chiefs called on the government to strike a veterinary agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules deal with Brussels to allow for a reciprocal removal of checks on products entering the EU from UK.
“[Mr Johnson] remarked on the ‘insane’ position people find themselves in in the midst of this crisis, whilst failing to acknowledge the insanity currently wrapped up in blatantly unfair EU-UK trade,” said a BPC spokesperson.
They added: “[Members] now will continue to face the burdens, costs and red tape that hinder fair competition until October 2023.”
The poultry council is unhappy at the government for scrapping physical inspections on food coming into the UK from the EU until last 2023 – a move announced by Jacob Rees-Mogg last week.
BPC chief executive Richard Griffiths, said it “proves that this government is not concerned with the rights and wrongs of fair UK-EU trade” – saying EU traders face a “commercial advantage with no checks and can now expect that luxury until late 2023”.
Mr Rees-Mogg, who had previously claimed soaring food costs had nothing to do with Brexit – admitted that the post-Brexit import checks planned for July would have seen prices rise at the supermarket, describing the red tape as “an act of self-harm”.