Thank you for writing to me with your concern that UK food standards will be lowered as part of future trade deals.
I can assure you that high food standards are a matter of great importance to me. The manifesto I stood on was clear that in all trade negotiations, our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards will not be compromised. The Government will stand firm in trade negotiations to ensure any deals live up to the values of our farmers and consumers.
I was pleased to recently receive a letter signed by both the Secretary of State for International Trade and the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
They made clear that they are firmly committed to upholding our high environmental, food safety and animal welfare standards outside the EU. They also emphasised that the EU Withdrawal Act will transfer all existing EU food safety provisions, including existing import requirements, onto the UK statute book.
These import standards include a ban on using artificial growth hormones in domestic and imported products and set out that no products, other than potable water, are approved to decontaminate poultry carcases. This means that any changes to existing food safety legislation would require new legislation to be brought before this Parliament.
The Government has also recently announced the formation of a Trade and Agriculture Commission which will ensure close engagement with the agriculture industry to help inform, shape and guide agricultural trade policy.
The Commission’s work will include recommending policies that the Government could adopt that would ensure UK farmers do not face unfair competition and that their high animal welfare and production standards are not undermined. It will also focus on how the UK engages international organisations to advance higher animal welfare and environmental protection standards across the world.
It is encouraging that Ministers share my determination to ensure our future trade agreements will deliver benefits for our brilliant farmers and food producers while promoting environmental improvement and higher quality produce across the globe.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. I hope that the above has reassured you of this Government’s commitment to high food standards.
(Updated on 14th July)