I have been contacted by a number of constituents regarding Food Standards and therefore I put a question to the Secretary of State.
I asked the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that UK food standards will not be lowered as part of future trade deals.
The minister’s response was as follows: ‘HM Government has made it clear that any future trade deals must work for British consumers, farmers and companies. We are proud of our high standards in food safety and these will not be weakened. High standards and high quality are what our domestic and global customers demand, and that is what we will provide. It is vital that we explore new trading opportunities, but these should not mean a dilution of the standards for which British food is world-renowned. The EU Withdrawal Act transfers all existing EU food safety provisions on to the statute book and we remain firmly committed to upholding our high food safety standards’
I am pleased that all food coming into this country will be required to meet existing import requirements. As the Minister stated, 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 carcasses. Any changes to existing food safety legislation would require new legislation to be brought before Parliament.
The UK’s food standards, for both domestic production and imports, are overseen by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland. These are independent agencies and provide advice to the UK and Scottish governments. They will continue to do so in order to ensure that all food imports comply with the UK’s high safety standards. I also welcome the announcement of the Formation of a Trade and Agriculture Commission.
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.
Finally, I have been assured that the Government is working with the agricultural sector as part of its trading discussions, including with the National Farmers Union. I am pleased that Ministers share my determination to ensure our future trade agreements will deliver benefits for our brilliant farmers and food producers.