The NFU has launched a petition calling for the government to enshrine in law its promise to prevent food being imported to the UK that would be illegal to produce here.
So far, the petition has nearly 60,000 signatures.
A recent debate on the Agriculture Bill saw MPs vote to reject an amendment that would have prevented British farmers being undercut by lower standard food imports. The Bill has now passed to the House of Lords.
Concerns have been raised by numerous sectors that future trade deals could allow products such as chlorinated chicken, hormone-injected beef and eggs from battery caged hens. The government has pledged to prevent such imports, but has yet to enshrine its promise in law.
Such food would be cheaper to produce than British food and many fear that allowing lower standard imports would pave the way for a ‘race to the bottom,’ preventing farmers from having a level playing field with global competitors.
Some MPs who voted against the amendment argued that it could make it difficult for the UK to make trade deals, or that such provisions should be made in the Trade Bill, not the Ag Bill.
The NFU petition reads: ‘I want the food I eat to be produced to world leading standards.
‘Our Government should ensure that all food eaten in the UK – whether in our homes, schools, hospitals, restaurants or from shops – is produced in a way that matches the high standards of production expected of UK farmers. Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of food security and traceability.
‘I believe the UK Government should seize the opportunities of ‘Global Britain’ to promote sustainable models of production and consumption across the world.
‘Farming throughout the UK has high standards of safety and welfare with an ambition to be net zero in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. There are very strict controls on farming methods allowed in the UK and I expect the same of all food which is imported here so the food I eat is as safe, traceable and produced to high welfare and environmental standards.
Before the UK begins to negotiate trade deals with countries around the world, I call on the UK Government to put into law rules that prevent food being imported to the UK which is produced in ways that would be illegal here.’
Sign the petition here: https://www.nfuonline.com/news/latest-news/food-standards-petition/