The first certificates allowing shellfish exports to the European Union have been issued to a Boston-based company by officers from Boston Borough Council’s Environmental Health team.

Following Brexit, with Britain no longer a part of the Customs Union, shellfish and other fishery products cannot enter EU member states without an export health certificate, approved and signed by qualified inspectors.

At Boston, officers from the Council’s Food Safety team are now doubling up as Port Health Officers to ensure a smooth transition for the town’s fishing fleet and shellfish processors.

Tony Gray, Environmental Health Manager, said his team had had to tackle a steep learning curve to make sure the change was as seamless as possible: “This has been a big challenge but the team has worked hard to ensure they have the knowledge to issue accurate and timely certificates to our exporters. We prepared very carefully for the change and the first consignment – live cockles processed at Dani Foods – successfully reached its destination in Spain this week.

“Requests for certificates are now a regular part of our work. This has highlighted the excellent collaboration and support between environmental health and local businesses in terms of meeting our post-Brexit obligations.”

Miquel Nin i Valles, of Boston-based Dani Foods, said: “We process cockles fished throughout the UK, both canned and fresh. Our primary market is Spain.

“Since 1 January we have faced the challenge of continuing our export operations after Brexit, and Boston Borough Council’s Environmental Health Department has been an invaluable help. The work and involvement of the Health Department officials have been excellent, and issuing the corresponding export health certificates has been smooth and problem-free.”

Councillor Yvonne Stevens, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services, was delighted the transition had gone so smoothly: “We may have a small team here in Boston but they’re brilliant and thanks to their work we have been able to support our local fishing industry through the challenges of Brexit and create a firm footing for them to continue to supply the EU market into the future.”