A House of Lords report has warned that food producers in the UK could be forced to accept an influx of lower-standard, cheaper foods as part of the trade deals which will accompany Brexit.
The Department of Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) have insisted that any trade deals which come about as a result of Brexit will not compromise food standards, but the Lords report suggests otherwise: “The government’s wish for the UK to become a global leader in free trade is not necessarily compatible with its desire to maintain high animal welfare standards”
The United States allow products such as chlorine-washed chicken to be sold as standard practice, but methods and products such as this are banned in the UK.
Speaking about chlorinated chicken and other animal welfare issues this week, Michael Gove said: “I have made it perfectly clear we are not going to dilute our high environmental standards or our animal welfare standards in the pursuit of a trade deal”.
However Lord Teverson, who chaired the sub-committee which wrote the House of Lords report on the matter, said that Brexit will indeed threaten the standards in the UK: “We urge the government to secure the inclusion of high farm animal welfare standards in any free trade agreements it negotiates after Brexit.
“The government will need to consider the effect of increasing standards on the competitiveness of UK producers as well as the future trading relationship with the EU.”