DEFRA inflexibility is still hampering dairy exports following foot and mouth, says the Provision Trade Federation.

The organisation’s director general Clare Cheney said DEFRA was still refusing to issue export certificates, even for countries that had not imposed a ban on dairy products.

“The situation seems to be getting worse, there are now more problems to sort out and fewer answers.”

She said DEFRA was becoming a “laughing stock” with some importers in third-countries because of its pedantic attitude.

“They are saying there are no restrictions but DEFRA says it needs corroborative evidence.

“The effect of this is that many small producers are banned from exporting a perfectly safe product to countries that want it,” added Mrs Cheney.