June 8, 2020
UK government possibly reopening door for imports of US hormone-treated beef and chlorinated chicken
A leaked letter to ministers said current negotiations between the United Kingdom and United States will no longer include a position on animal welfare, raising concerns on commitments made to protect food standards, The Guardian reported.
In the leaked note, it was suggestedthat UK regulations could be amended to accommodate an agreement with the US and maximise leverage for negotiations with the EU.
The note also stated that the UK cabinet committee will discuss animal welfare issues in June to settle all agriculture issues.
A spokesman of the government maintained that the UK will retain its strict food standards, animal welfare and high environmental protection standards.
However, campaigners want these standards to be protected in an agriculture bill, which the UK parliament is currently debating.
Last week, there were reports that the UK government was deliberating on a "dual scheme" system, where imports of US foods with lower animal welfare standards will be slapped with higher tariffs. It is not confirmed whether the higher tariffs will also be imposed on foods linked with low environmental standards.
Luke Pollard, shadow environment secretary said the UK cannot allow its high food standards to be affected and for UK farmers to be undercut in future trade deals.
Nick von Westenholz, National Farmers Union (NFU) director of EU exit and international trade for the, said the NFU expects trade negotiators to uphold its commitments to retain the UK's strict food standards, animal welfare and high environmental protection.
Another spokesman the government said it will defend British farming and use trade negotiations to create new opportunities for its farmers. The spokesman added that UK food regulators will give independent advice to confirm that all foods imported to the UK follows the UK's high standards.
- The Guardian