A US commerce deal might pose the best threat to meals security because the mad cow illness disaster 20 years in the past, the federal government has been warned.
Shopper group Which? has written to Worldwide Commerce Secretary Liz Truss as a brand new spherical of negotiations will get beneath approach between US and UK officers.
The letter, seen by Sky Information, raises considerations that the federal government has modified its stance on animal welfare and meals security with a purpose to strike a US commerce deal.
Analysis by Which? reveals that 72% of the British public are not looking for merchandise reminiscent of chlorine-washed hen and hormone-fed beef to be allowed on sale within the UK in any respect.
In his election manifesto, Boris Johnson promised the UK would “not compromise on our excessive environmental safety, animal welfare and meals requirements”.
However latest makes an attempt by MPs to insert a everlasting ban into laws have failed, and ministers are understood to be contemplating proposals to permit in a few of these merchandise.
Sue Davies, head of shopper safety and meals coverage at Which?, advised Sky Information: “We’re very involved that the federal government appears to be backtracking on its commitments.”
In a letter to Ms Truss, she wrote: “The UK needs to be happy with the strides now we have revamped the previous 20 years to make sure that wherever individuals purchase and eat meals it’s underpinned by strong security, high quality and welfare requirements.
“For the reason that BSE disaster, the UK has led a meals security revolution that has given us an enviable system throughout the meals chain.
“This might all be in danger relying on the strategy that the federal government takes when it begins a second spherical of commerce talks with the US on Monday.”
:: Hearken to Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
Which? urges the federal government to “go away the problem out of commerce offers altogether”, however US commerce offers are inclined to prioritise giving American farmers entry to new markets.
In a newspaper article in January, US ambassador Woody Johnson argued that chlorinated hen is protected and should “completely be included” within the talks on a US commerce deal.
Free market Tory MPs, together with some within the cupboard, are open to overturning the UK’s ban on these merchandise and permitting customers to make their very own selection.
To stop UK farmers being undercut, one proposal into account is a “twin tariff” system whereby any imported US meat produced utilizing these controversial strategies can be slapped with a excessive tariff.
In the meantime, produce which meets present UK requirements can be charged at a decrease price, or exempt.
Ms Davies stated letting these merchandise into the UK in any respect would create a “two-tier system” whereby low cost meals – obtainable in faculties and NHS canteens for instance – would have decrease requirements.
Chlorine-washing hen is finished to eradicate an infection, and hormones are given to animals to spice up yield, however campaigners say these practices permit decrease welfare requirements and poorer hygiene within the farming course of.
A authorities spokesperson stated: “We stay firmly dedicated to upholding our excessive environmental, meals security and animal welfare requirements exterior the EU, and the EU Withdrawal Act will switch all current EU meals security provisions, together with current import necessities, onto the UK statute e-book.
“These import requirements embody a ban on utilizing synthetic development hormones in home and imported merchandise and set out that no merchandise, apart from potable water, are authorised to decontaminate poultry carcasses.
“Any modifications to current meals security laws would require new laws to be introduced earlier than this parliament.”
The spokesperson added that UK meals requirements are overseen by the Meals Requirements Company whose selections “might be made individually from any commerce settlement”.
However some senior Tory MPs worry the federal government is ready to make use of its 80-seat majority to finish the ban with a purpose to strike a cope with the US.
Right now’s second spherical of talks will final two weeks, with round 100 negotiators on all sides assembly remotely.
Former atmosphere secretary Theresa Villiers desires the UK to maintain its ban on chlorine-washed hen and hormone-fed beef.
She stated: “I used to be very clear that the bans should stay in place. However there appears to have been a change and the federal government is just not giving the assurances which I used to be that these bans will stay on the statute e-book.
“An unprecedented coalition of farmers, environmentalists and welfare campaigners are saying we should always uphold our values and replicate them in our commerce coverage.
“Our negotiating group mustn’t promote these brief and needs to be ready to stroll away if the People make unreasonable calls for.”
The BSE, or mad cow illness, disaster within the 1980s and 1990s was devastating for UK farmers.
Over 4 million cows have been slaughtered to comprise the outbreak, and 177 individuals died after contracting the human type of the illness.
British beef exports have been banned by many nations for years afterwards, and it led to a lot tighter meals requirements within the UK.