Trade deals with the US and others could see our high standards torn up. Here’s why we’re demanding the government uphold these hard-won protections.
25/06/2020: Labels won’t protect our standards
Our latest research shows that three in five people say food produced to lower standards should not be on sale, regardless of labelling.
The US takes a different approach to the labelling of production methods, and has even challenged country of origin labelling in the past.
It’s also important to remember that not everything is labelled, such as food sold in schools, hospitals, canteens, restaurants and takeaways.
Using labels to inform consumers in this way would require a huge expansion of labelling, while the US actually wants labelling reduced.
In many instances, clear labelling may not always be available. Eating out, hospital meals or school dinners are just a few examples. This is why we can't just rely on labelling for protecting the UK's food standards.#SaveFoodStandards pic.twitter.com/DLSa63S9kc
— Which? (@WhichUK) June 25, 2020
23/06/2020: We must act now
Although the government made a manifesto commitment to uphold food safety and animal welfare standards, they’ve started to backtrack.
Nor have legal protections against any lowering of food standards been included in the Agriculture Bill or the Trade Bill.
Without this binding protection, there’s a real risk that food standards could be lowered in order to sign a trade deal with the US.
The US has made it clear it wants us to accept products that use production methods not permitted here.
That could mean we’re eating hormone-treated beef, chlorinated chicken and vegetables grown with higher levels of pesticides – all legal in the US, but not yet in the UK.
And it won’t be as simple as choosing better food – these products will go into the catering sector, unlabelled in cafes, restaurants and canteens – and a deal could also restrict the labels put on food, such as origin labels.
That’s why we’re making two demands:
🔷 The government commit to upholding our food standards and enshrine this in law through the Agriculture Bill or Trade Bill.
🔷 The government signal to all future trading partners that the UK is seeking to champion high-quality and high standards food around the globe, and not accept any deals that would weaken them.
Join our campaign to save food standards
Since its launch on 15 June, our petition to save food standards has been signed by more than 199,000 people.
That puts it among our fastest growing campaigns ever. It’s also been shared by Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden:
No and neither should we allow it to be eaten in our Schools, Hospitals, processed meat etc….AND the government promised us we would not accept lower standards so…this should be an easy one…Please join if you care. https://t.co/UGs1IHRH9N
— Deborah Meaden (@DeborahMeaden) June 15, 2020
Support is welcome, because we’re running out of time to save the UK’s world-leading food safety and animal welfare standards.
Negotiations with the US have already begun and food standards are a potential bargaining chip.
Meanwhile the bills that could legally protect food standards are already being debated in Parliament.
But to take food standards off the table, we need your help.
How can we protect food standards?
Start by signing our petition, which we’re using to influence politicians from all parties to stand up for food standards.
Signing up will also mean you receive the latest updates from the campaign.
You can also tweet your local MP and International Trade Secretary Liz Truss using the hashtag #SaveFoodStandards.
We’re demanding the UK government stand firm against pressure from the US and other future trade partners. Will you join us and support our campaign?