UK mandate to hit rural Scotland.
Scotland’s globally recognised food standards should not be sacrificed in order to secure non-EU trade deals, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said.
The UK Government’s published mandate for talks with the European Union, their own Agriculture Bill, and public statements on food standards to date have yet to provide any reliable assurances that hormone-injected beef and chlorinated chicken – among other products from around the world - will not be granted access to the UK market, Mr Ewing said.
Mr Ewing added:
“It is very concerning that the UK Government has repeatedly refused to provide the necessary assurances that food standards will not be sacrificed in the pursuit of non-EU trade deals.
“I agree wholeheartedly with the NFU who only last week said it would be ‘insane’ to allow food onto our shelves and into our fridges that is produced at a standard which is currently illegal in Scotland and the rest of the UK. Lowering standards in the pursuit of trade deals would do untold damage to the UK and Scottish food production industry, especially when the majority of our produce is currently exported to the EU.
“That is why I have written to the UK Government seeking urgent assurances that food and animal welfare standards will not be lowered. In the meantime, I have suggested amendments to the UK Agriculture Bill to protect standards and will continue to work with stakeholders to protect our vital food production and processing sectors.”
Proposed amendments to the UK Agriculture Bill were published on 20 February 2020.