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Establishment of a Food Standards Commission

Volume 677: debated on Thursday 18 June 2020

I rise on behalf of the constituents of the constituency of Kilmarnock and Loudoun who have sent this petition in the consideration of a food standards commission. They are rightly concerned about food quality in the UK post Brexit. They understand that, despite assurances of the UK Government about keeping out the likes of chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef, proof of the UK’s intent was evidenced by the refusal to accept a cross-party amendment to the Agriculture Bill. They know that all bets are off when it comes to a trade deal with the US. They understand that trading under WTO rules in a no-deal Brexit crash-out means that these products cannot be banned; that is the position under most-favoured nation rules. They know that, with the number of free marketeers within the Tory Cabinet, there needs to be an independent food standards commission to protect the standards of food and drink on our shelves and to protect the Scottish farmers, who produce such high-quality goods.

The petition states:

The Petition of residents of the United Kingdom,

Declares that the UK Government has not put proper safeguards in place to protect food standards post the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union; notes that the Government has rejected cross party amendments to the Agricultural Bill that aimed to protect standards of imports and ensure that any imports would not be able to undercut UK producers; further notes that leaving the European Union without a deal on 31 December 2020 will mean trading on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms, and that the most favoured nation status will mean that the UK cannot prevent the import of hormone injected beef or chlorinated chicken from the US; further notes that the consumer group Which? has stated that a US trade deal poses the biggest risk to food standards since the BSE crisis and notes that the current deals struck by the EU provide the necessary protections; further declares that an extension to the transition period would create a short term protection against low standard imports, and that a Food Standards Commission with the remit of ensuring quality and welfare standards of food and drink imports in any trade deals could provide longer term protections for our farmers and growers in Scotland and the wider UK.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to consider the establishment of a Food Standards Commission to monitor any trade deals involving food and drink products and to protect UK welfare standards and value our farmers and growers who produce in Scotland and the wider UK.

And the petitioners remain, etc.