Crisp flavour is key election issue for unionists
Crisp flavour is key election issue for unionists


Desperate unionist politicians have made an election issue from an EU food safety measure which restricts the use of toxic flavourings in potato crisps.

Jim Allister (pictured), leader of the hardline TUV, condemned a potential EU ban on certain flavourings which it was claimed could create a “smoky bacon border” between Ireland and Britain.

“Is nothing safe from EU madness?”, he declared.

Crisp makers in the north of Ireland are subject to the potential EU ban on smoke flavourings because of post-Brexit trading arrangements. It has been reported that the EU’s food safety authority have toxicity concerns about some eight smoke flavourings, including those used for ‘smoky bacon’ crisps.

As a result Brussels has not renewed market authorisations for the flavourings to be used.

Under the terms of Brexit, the north of Ireland continues to follow EU rules in return for retaining access to the EU’s single market.

Right-wing opponents of the EU have used food regulations as a campaigning issue since 1994, when Tories railed against regulations which they claimed limited the import of “bendy bananas”.

More recently, DUP MP Sammy Wilson grabbed headlines when he campaigned against a potential restriction on the trade of sausage meat between Britain and Ireland.

Opponents of the most recent Brexit trade deal have now hit out at the prospect of a “smoky bacon border” in the Irish Sea.

Allister said those who think his complaints about EU law is “all about dry constitutional issues” should “sit up and take notice if they enjoy Tayto smoky bacon crisps.”

The issue has become a key element of the TUV’s election campaign against the deal by their unionist rivals which helped bring about the return of the Six County Assembly at Stormont.

With a Westminster general election due to take place in less than four weeks, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have now withdrawn into a harder stance against that deal.

The party’s new leader Gavin Robinson has claimed his predecessor “oversold” it, saying there should have been more “cautious realism” at the time.

Mr Robinson insisted that progress had been made in the deal contained in ‘Safeguarding the Union’ document issued by the British government, but added there is still “work to be done”.

Mr Robinson will lead the DUP into the General Election after he was ratified as the new leader at a party meeting in Lisburn on Wednesday night. He replaced Jeffrey Donaldson who resigned as leader after he was charged with a number of sex offences.

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