Thank you for contacting me about food standards and the UK’s trade policy.
It is absolutely vital that people across the UK have confidence in the food that they eat, which is why I welcome the Government’s very clear commitment that future trade agreements must uphold our country’s high food standards. Ministers have made clear these standards will not be watered down in pursuit of any trade deal.
Public consultations will be run ahead of any negotiations for new trade agreements, while any final agreement will be scrutinised and ratified by Parliament. These measures will ensure that both Parliament and the public can have their say on the content of any potential new trade agreements, including in the area of food standards.
To provide continuity in our country’s existing trade relationships, the Government will transition existing EU trade agreements, to which our country is party, into UK law. As these trade agreements will be transitioned on the closest possible terms as each original agreement, this process will not have an impact on food standards.
Any future trade deal must work for British farmers and consumers. For instance, EU standards on food such as chlorinated chicken will come into UK law through the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. EU regulations on hormone treated beef are already part of UK law. These prevent the use of growth hormones in imports and domestic production. These will continue after the UK leaves the EU.
A vital role in maintaining food standards in the UK is being played by the Food Standards Agency (FSA)’s “Regulating Our Future” programme, which seeks to modernise the way that food businesses are regulated, by creating a system that is modern, risk-based, proportionate, robust and resilient. One example of the work which the FSA is currently doing to tackle poor food standards is its campaign against campylobacter, the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK.
I am encouraged by the commitment to upholding our high food standards that will ensure that people across the UK will continue to have confidence in the food that they eat.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP
4th November 2019