Liam Fox says public will not accept lower food standards
The international trade secretary, Liam Fox, has stated that the British public will not accept any reductions in food standards as Brexit moves forward, responding to questions about chlorinated chicken.
Fox’s statement follows a speech by the US commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, at the CBI conference, during which he reportedly claimed that there would be “problems if the UK retained the current EU-wide bans on chlorinated chicken and genetically modified food”.
Talking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about the future of Brexit negotiations, Fox commented: “We have made very clear we are not going to see reductions in our standards as we move forward, partly because British consumers wouldn’t stand for it.”
He added: “We are entering an era where I think people will take a much bigger interest in trade agreements than they might have done in the past, on environmental standards, quality and safety, they will clearly have very strong views.”
Fox also clarified that the Government would not want to get into a situation similar to the one created by the TTIP agreement “where a huge amount of work is done only to find the public won’t accept it”.
According to media reports, Ross told business leaders that a Brexit deal between the UK and the EU “takes into account our commercial interests and does not hinder the development of a closer US-UK relationship”.
Fox had told a committee of MPs last week that “there are no health reasons why you couldn’t eat chickens that have been washed in chlorinated water”.
The Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, has already ruled out the weakening of UK food standards.