Food standards petition nears 1 million signatures

More than 825,000 people have signed a petition calling on the government to make sure food imports meet UK production standards.

Organised by the NFU, the petition says all food eaten in the UK should be produced in a way that matches the high standards expected of British farmers.

See also: Thousands sign food standards petition

It has won support from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and the Mail on Sunday. Speaking in a video post on Facebook, Mr Oliver said it was a “massive subject” and possibly “the most important thing” he had supported.

“We want to stop something that will be traumatic for the farming industry and for public health,” said Mr Oliver.

“We want standards. We don’t want people’s word. We want standards and structure and law to maintain what we’ve worked hard for.”

Peers are expected to discuss food standards when the government’s Agriculture Bill receives its second reading in the House of Lords on Wednesday (10 June).

Farm leaders want guarantees that UK farmers won’t be undermined by a flood of substandard food imports as the government seeks trade deals with other countries.

Fears are mounting that a US-UK trade deal could allow imports of chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef – both of which are currently banned.

Leaked memo

A leaked memo suggests Downing Street has “no specific policy” on animal welfare in US trade talks, according to The Observer on Sunday (7 June).

The paper said: “The revelation will raise more concerns about the government’s commitment to upholding ‘high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards’.”

The government has said it will not compromise on the UK’s high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.

The Telegraph has suggested that the latest government proposal would see different tariffs imposed on imports depending on whether they comply with UK welfare standards.

Industry leaders and animal welfare campaigners say such assurances do not go far enough and must be enshrined in law before trade deals are agreed.

You can sign the petition on the NFU’s website.