Fears have risen over UK food standards being undermined by the introduction of chlorinated or acid wash chicken as part of a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States. Minette Batters insisted animal welfare and environmental protection must be treated the same as food safety in a post-Brexit trade deal.
Speaking on BBC’s Politics Live, Ms Batters said: “It’s not just about America.
“It’s about our future relationship with the EU and indeed all these trading discussions.
“We have made the point from day one that we want to maintain our high standard of animal welfare, environmental protection and food safety.”
She continued: “The Government has talked about our standards and it absolutely supports them.
“The key question is what supports them and the standards of imports.
“There are two things to this, we call for a commission to scrutinise trade deals which Michael Gove committed last year and wrote to saying he thought a commission was a really good idea.
“All we ask is this is backed up by legislation in the agricultural bill.
“It isn’t, it still seems a stumbling block whereby we have words that say this is what we want to do.
“But we have to be very clear with our negotiating objectives as to what they are and we are saying animal welfare and environmental protection must be treated the same as food safety.”
Former Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers told the BBC Today show that US-UK trade negations must “recognise that exposing our farmers to food produced to lower standards” may affect them earning a living.
Ms Villiers, who lost her position in Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle, was very outspoken on the matter, making it clear that the UK should stick to the standards we have now in terms of animal welfare and imports.
Heathrow CEO urges Johnson to speed up extension plans for global UK [INSIGHT]
Pound to euro exchange rate: GBP steady ahead of UK-EU talks [DATA]
Nigel Farage warns ‘optimistic’ Brexiteers ‘it’s not over’ yet [INSIGHT]
She told Radio 4: “The concern is that these kind of washes at the end of rearing chickens disguise poor hygiene and animal welfare standards.
“I believe very strongly that our farmers should not be undercut by products and food produced to lower animal welfare standards.
“Very often the dispute around the chlorine wash is actually a proxy for concern about animal welfare.
“In our trade negotiations, we should recognise that exposing our farmers to food produced to lower standards makes it more difficult for them to earn a living and also undermines our standards and our ambitions to make sure that we are world-leading on animal welfare.”
Source: Read Full Article