Thank you for contacting me about food standards and future trade deals. I have read your email carefully and have noted the key points that you raise.
I fully recognise the importance the public attach to the UK’s high standards of food production, and the unique selling point it provides for our farmers, whose high-quality produce is in demand around the world. The Government has been very clear that it will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food safety standards in future trade deals, nor will it compromise on matters relating to the health and wellbeing of our children during trade negotiations.
Without exception, all animal products imported into the UK under existing or future free trade agreements from all trading partners, including the EU and others, will have to meet stringent food safety standards, as they do now. These standards have been built up over many years and have the trust of the public and the world. The Government has said that it will not downgrade those standards to secure trade deals. The standards will be based on the relevant science and decided by the UK alone.
I want to see a vibrant and resilient farming sector in the UK, and the UK’s newfound status as an independent trading nation has the potential to bring huge benefits to our farming sector, including our family-run farms, and including through new free trade agreements.
I am pleased that the Government is engaging with the agricultural sector, including the National Farmers Union, as part of its trade discussions. The Government has established the Trade and Agriculture Commission as well as trade advisory groups, ensuring that British farmers, businesses, and consumers will play a central role in the nation’s trade policy. It is encouraging that Ministers share my determination to ensure our future trade agreements will deliver benefits for our outstanding farmers and food producers.
Regarding the relationship between trade agreements and health outcomes, there is no evidence to suggest that a free trade deal with the United States, or indeed any other country, would lead to an increase in child obesity in the UK. The health and diets of our children is at the heart of the Government’s commitment to the high food standards that protect and benefit British farmers and consumers and which will not be compromised in any trade negotiation.
I hope this response has provided some clarity and reassurance.
With best wishes and thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking