MPs have voted, with majority of 60, to reject imported food to meet domestic legal standards from 1 January 2021.
A Lords amendment to the Agriculture Bill was force trade deals to meet UK animal welfare and food safety rules.
Campaigners believe that to secure a trade deal with America, the UK could be forced to accept lower standards
The vote: 332 for and 272 against. All 11 Liberal Democrats and 14 conservatives voted against the bill.
Andrew Jones MP, said:
The high standards that we have in the UK for food production are measures we must never erode. That is why they are enshrined in legislation, which includes import requirements. That happened when the EU (Withdrawal) Act was passed, as it moved across existing standards on animal welfare, animal and plant health, and food safety from EU law. Any changes to existing legislation would have to be brought before Parliament.
So, for example, let’s look at the two products which have received so much attention – chlorine washed chicken and hormone fed beef. Both products are illegal in the UK. The legislation for the hormones in beef ban is contained in EU legislation 2003/74/EC, the provisions of which now form part of UK law.
On chlorinated chicken – retained EU law under Section 3 of the WA. Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 defines ‘potable water’ as water meeting the minimum requirements laid down in Directive 98/83/EC. And Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 lays down specific rules on the hygiene of food of animal origin for food business operators. It provides that food business operators are not to use any substance other than potable water to remove surface contamination from products of animal origin, unless the use of the substance has been approved in accordance with that Regulation.
Those who suggest we will now have to eat these products seems to forget they are already illegal. Nobody is proposing any changes to legislation to make them legal.
Overall, however, I am pleased that the Agriculture Bill has passed. I want to see the public good it will deliver. The EU (Withdrawal) Act has protected our food standards. I do not know anyone who is in favour of lowering them. I am pleased that we are keeping the same high standards on food and agriculture imports as we had in the EU. That is what I pledged to support, and that is what I voted for.
Local Liberal Democrats have accused Andrew Jones MP of selling out North Yorkshire farmers, by voting to allow imports from countries with much lower animal welfare and environmental standards to undercut our agricultural industry.
Commenting, Judith Rogerson said:
It’s disappointing to see Harrogate & Knaresborough’s MP fail to stand up for local farmers by voting to allow countries with lower standards undercut them.
The UK should be leading the way in upholding the highest environmental and animal welfare standards, not selling out our planet, animals, and farmers for the sake of future trade deals.