Should we be importing food produced to a lower standard than those we insist on here in the UK? Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received a number of emails about my amendment (NC1) to the Agriculture Bill which seeks to ensure no lowering of standards in any future trade deal.
Without this safeguard in the Bill we risk sparking a race to the bottom in food standards and safety at home to compete on price against cheap imports, while exporting our environmental footprint abroad. A point that was underlined by Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers Union, in an interview with Sophy Ridge at the weekend.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that there will be pressure to see produce currently banned, such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-pumped beef from the United States, allowed into Britain under any future trade deal. According to the BBC, US food and farming groups are already calling for current bans to be lifted in submissions to the US Trade Representative.
It’s in the interests of everyone, from farmers to consumers, that we don’t have a race to the bottom post-Brexit. If we are to leave the EU, we have to see this as a once in a generation opportunity to design a sustainable, ethical and healthy food and farming system.
'A no deal would be absolutely savage for us, I cannot imagine how bad it will look' – National Farmers' Union president @Minette_Batters says she has had no written assurances from the government over their plans post-Brexit.
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— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) February 3, 2019