A US trade deal might pose the greatest risk to food safety since the mad cow illness crisis 20 years earlier, the federal government has actually been cautioned.
Customer group Which? has actually composed to International Trade Secretary Liz Truss as a brand-new round of settlements gets under method in between US and UK authorities.
The letter, seen by Sky News, raises issues that the federal government has actually altered its position on animal well-being and food safety in order to strike a US trade deal.
Research Study by Which? shows that 72% of the British public do not desire items such as chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-fed beef to be enabled on sale in the UK at all.
In his election manifesto, Boris Johnson guaranteed the UK would “not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards”.
However current efforts by MPs to place an irreversible restriction into legislation have actually stopped working, and ministers are comprehended to be thinking about propositions to allow a few of these items.
Sue Davies, head of customer security and food policy at Which?, informed Sky News: “We’re very concerned that the government seems to be backtracking on its commitments.”
In a letter to Ms Truss, she composed: “The UK need to take pride in the strides we have actually made over the past 20 years to ensure that any place people consume and purchase food it is underpinned by robust safety, quality and well-being requirements.
” Since the BSE crisis, the UK has actually led a food safety transformation that has actually offered us an excellent system throughout the food chain.
“This could all be at risk depending on the approach that the government takes when it begins a second round of trade talks with the US on Monday.”
Which? advises the federal government to “leave the issue out of trade deals altogether”, however US trade offers tend to prioritise providing American farmers gain access to to brand-new markets.
In a news article in January, US ambassador Woody Johnson argued that chlorinated chicken is safe and should “absolutely be included” in the talks on a US trade deal.
Free market Tory MPs, consisting of some in the cabinet, are open to reversing the UK’s restriction on these items and enabling buyers to make their own option.
To avoid UK farmers being undercut, one proposition under factor to consider is a “dual tariff” system where any imported US meat produced utilizing these questionable approaches would be slapped with a high tariff.
On the other hand, produce which fulfills present UK requirements would be charged at a lower rate, or exempt.
Ms Davies stated letting these items into the UK at all would produce a “two-tier system” where inexpensive food – offered in nhs and schools canteens for instance – would have lower requirements.
Chlorine-washing chicken is done to get rid of infection, and hormonal agents are offered to animals to increase yield, however advocates state these practices permit lower well-being requirements and poorer health in the farming procedure.
A federal government representative stated: “We stay strongly devoted to promoting our high ecological, food safety and animal well-being requirements outside the EU, and the EU Withdrawal Act will move all existing EU food safety arrangements, consisting of existing import requirements, onto the UK statute book.
” These import requirements consist of a restriction on utilizing synthetic growth hormonal agents in domestic and imported items and set out that no items, aside from safe and clean water, are authorized to decontaminate poultry carcasses.
“Any changes to existing food safety legislation would require new legislation to be brought before this parliament.”
The representative added that UK food requirements are supervised by the Food Standards Firm whose choices “will be made separately from any trade agreement”.
However some senior Tory MPs fear the federal government is ready to utilize its 80- seat bulk to end the restriction in order to strike a deal with the US.
Today’s second round of talks will last 2 weeks, with around 100 arbitrators on each side conference from another location.
Former environment secretary Theresa Villiers desires the UK to keep its restriction on chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-fed beef.
She stated: “I was extremely clear that the restrictions should stay in location. There appears to have actually been the federal government and a modification is not providing the guarantees which I was that these restrictions will stay on the statute book.
” An extraordinary union of farmers, ecologists and well-being advocates are stating we need to maintain our worths and show them in our trade policy.
” Our negotiating team need to not offer those brief and need to be prepared to leave if the Americans make unreasonable needs.”
The BSE, or mad cow illness, crisis in the 1980 s and 1990 s was ravaging for UK farmers.
Over 4 million cows were butchered to include the break out, and 177 people passed away after contracting the human kind of the illness.
British beef exports were prohibited by lots of countries for many years later on, and it led to much tighter food requirements in the UK.