CIEH urges Government to stick to food standards promises
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is the latest organisation to urge the Government to keep its word on maintaining the UK’s high food standards.
Organisations across the food industry have called on the Government to prevent food being imported into the UK at a standard that would be illegal for British producers. This comes after MPs voted against amendments to the Agriculture Bill.
Concerns have grown following trade negotiations between countries such as the United States and a potential dual tariff approach to food standards, which many believe could open the door to products such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef.
“Whilst a dual tariff system may promote better quality food entering the country, it would still also be a backdoor for what we consider low quality food produce, such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef, pouring into our market.”
Debbie Wood, executive director for membership and external affairs at CIEH said: “Despite repeated assurances from the Government, the mood music does not look good for UK food standards and animal welfare. Government appears to be retracting on previous commitments.
“Whilst a dual tariff system may promote better quality food entering the country, it would still also be a backdoor for what we consider low quality food produce, such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef, pouring into our market.
“This is a clear public health issue. Recent evidence suggests that chlorine washing, a process used to deal with hygiene issues arising from intensive production, is not an effective disinfectant. This may help explain why rates on microbiological food poisoning are six times higher in the US than those in the UK. Nor should Government lose sight of why the EU banned hormone-treated beef in the first place, given the evidence that linked some such hormones as carcinogens.
“And it’s not just public health. Animal welfare is important to many people across our country. As such, we are anxious that any trade deal upholds these standards and does not see the UK trade away our cherished approach to animal welfare and environmental standards.
“There is a great deal at stake if negotiations are rushed and deliver a deal that undercuts hard-won British food standards.
“We are asking the Government to slow down trade talks with the US until such time that MPs, local authorities, and the food sector, are no longer inundated with responding to the Covid-19 emergency, so that negotiations can receive the scrutiny and attention they deserve.
“We have been working closely with a number of Peers in the House of Lords, who are equally passionate about maintaining our country’s food standards. When the Agriculture Bill receives its Second Reading…we know our concerns will be raised directly in the Chamber.
“We urge the Government to keep to their promises and to provide full assurances that low quality food will not be allowed into our country in order to secure trade deals.”