June 29, 2020
Coronavirus has changed everything. Make sense of it all with the Waugh Zone, our evening politics briefing. Sign up now.
Opinion: Dont Pander To The US Cheap Food Lobby With Chlorinated Chicken
Is Covid going to be the moment the world strengthens the institutions of a healthier model of economic growth and a more resilient model of globalisation, to deepen the trade ties that bind us?  
Or is this the moment the protectionist tendencies triumph as the USA, China and Europe turn in on themselves in a new world order of economic nationalism by trading bloc?
On climate change will Covid be the moment we abandon decarbonisation as a luxury we can’t afford as we fire up the global economy one (dirty) engine at a time? Or the moment we embrace healthier growth, cleaner air and cities, fewer cheap flights and redouble our commitment to green growth?  
On trade, are we going to seek to remain in the European trade zone, or orientate our economy towards the USA, or towards the fastest emerging markets in Asia and Africa? 
The answer to these questions will shape our nation for the next few decades as surely as membership of the common market did from the 1970s to now. 
Nowhere will the answer be more felt than in UK food, farming and countryside. 
Will we decide to make leaving the EU a moment to open the doors to cheap imports of food - American and Asian factory-farmed poultry, pork and beef and midwest grain - against which UK farming with its world- leading animal welfare and environmental standards cannot possibly compete?  
Or will we stand by our UK food and farming sector? 
The agriculture and trade bills currently being scrutinised in parliament, and the ongoing trade negotiations with the United States, will decide.
In the Conservative manifesto we promised we would not water down any of the existing food safety, farm animal welfare and environmental standards. Ministers repeat that assurance. But we know that the Americans put “liberalisation” of agriculture and food top of their list of negotiating red lines. 
UK ministers must make clear we will not accept lowering our food standards.   
Trade ministers are currently saying:  The adoption of EU standards into UK law on Brexit day fulfils the manifesto commitmentWe cannot bind the hands of negotiators. WTO rules do not allow the imposition of any welfare standards. There’s nothing wrong with allowing in cheap food produced below our standards, as we already do. Don’t forget that a US trade deal will not just allow cheap American food into the UK it will also allow premium UK food into the US.  Given that ministers are also seeking Henry VIII powers to allow them to change trade rules and food standards by statutory instrument (a mechanism for processing minor technical regulatory details which avoids a vote of the whole House), and resisting calls for scrutiny and accountability of the trade negotiations to parliament, we are in danger of giving the green light to exactly what the US department of trade - and ultra-free market Brexiteers - have long wanted: an abandonment of EU “red tape” (farm welfare and food standards) and an open-door for cheap imports. 
If that is allowed to happen it would mean the equivalent to UK farming of the closure of our shipbuilding and steel industry in the 1980s.  Without huge EU like subsidies which we are rightly getting away from, all but the biggest and most exclusive premium farm and food operations would go bust. I don’t share the National Farmers Union’s warnings of tumbleweed prairies. Farms in the countryside would be snapped up by the global jet-set looking for safe-haven investment and private rural playgrounds.
But another great UK industry would be thrown away. World leading UK expertise and commercial muscle in agronomy, food standards, sustainable food production, Agritech, nutraceuticals and plant and animal breeding would be thrown away. For the short term “kick” of cheap food. 
Just as the world market for agricultural innovation, technology and low input high productivity “smart farming” is set to be worth billions, are we seriously going to throw it away to give Donald Trump the prize for which American trade negotiators have always yearned?
Just when we should be embracing Covid as a moment for a more resilient and sustainable model of growth we would be doing the opposite. 
That’s why I’m working with a group of fellow Conservative backbench MPs to help ministers ensure we protect our food and farm welfare standards.  We are urging the PM to recognise the strength of feeling (one million people have now signed the food standards petition) and do the right thing:Make absolutely clear that we will not negotiate away any existing UK animal welfare and food standards in trade negotiations.Agree to the proposed commission on food and farm standards to provide transparency and scrutiny.Agree to either clear red lines in the US trade negotiations (why not put them in law so the US can see it’s for real) or basic parliamentary scrutiny and accountability in the negotiation of our trade deals.Introduce a single clear food labelling system for consumers which ensures all produce has to show country of origin and an indicator of conformity to UK production standards.It’s not just food standards on the line.  
This debate goes back to what sort of country we want to be in the new post-Brexit, post-Covid world? Our vision, values and ambition. 
Does ‘global Britain’ mean maintaining our high standards and leadership on the environment, animal welfare, food standards, resilience and sustainability?  Or does global Britain mean cheap Britain - cutting corners, lowering standards and abandoning our own farming industry by importing the cheapest food from around the world? From Wisconsin to Wuhan. 
It doesn’t have to be a choice between trade or standards. We have a golden opportunity to turn this round and use our trade leverage to drive better trade. Fair trade instead of free trade. If we insist on higher standards for US imports - what about putting tariffs on low-welfare goods? - we could help drive up standards in the US. By dropping 40% EU tariffs on exports from developing countries we could help them switch from aid to trade. 
This isn’t a Remainer plot to frustrate Brexit. Brexit was sold as a moment to “take back control” and embrace a great new age of global Britain trading with the fastest growing economies beyond the EU. Yes I voted Remain because I was worried about precisely this food issue and the impact on my constituents. 
Mid Norfolk is the number one constituency for poultry and number three for pigs. Food processing is our largest employer and prosperity generator. The majority of the 62% of my pro-Brexit constituents are 100% opposed to selling out UK farming on the altar of cheap foreign food imports. Cheap food isn’t a solace if you’ve lost your Job
I backed Boris Johnson and Michael Gove because they made very clear we would defy the accusation of a ‘cheap Brexit’ and instead make this a moment to redouble our leadership in green growth, international development, workers rights, food standards and clean green UK agritech. They were right. 
So let’s not pander to the grizzled US cheap food lobby with its hormone beef, chlorinated chicken and “finger-lick’n” cheap food culture, and the implications for the health of our food and our population. We need to be promoting healthy eating of fresh UK produce. Not global junk food. 
Let’s fly the flag for British standards - from Scotch salmon to Belfast bacon, Welsh cheese, Cornish pasties, Norfolk crab - all showcased in the  global culinary melting pot of our burgeoning London and metropolitan food culture.   
To those like Dominic Lawson (who also opposes action on climate change) who claim that defending UK farm animal welfare and food standards is “protectionist” by artificially supporting weak and uncompetitive producers, I say that protecting consumers and animal welfare standards isn’t weak. Markets are about values. Market economies work in a framework of regulation. Good regulation drives good markets and innovation. The “protectionists” here are the US industrial farm lobby protecting their profits over our standards.
The post-Covid recovery is no time to abandon our domestic food and farming sector. As we look to repair the damage from exposure to Wuhan’s wet markets and establish greater resilience in our national supply chains, we need our farmers and fresh food supply more than ever.
George Freeman MP is former life sciences minister, No.10 policy board chair, UK trade envoy and founded of The Big Tent Ideas Festival.Related... UK Could Face 'Very Nasty Rebound' Of Coronavirus In Autumn Or Winter, Scientific Adviser Warns Leicester Facing UK's First Local Lockdown After Coronavirus Surge, Priti Patel Confirms Liz Truss Refuses Four Times To Say Boris Johnson Won't Scrap Trade Department
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Madonna’s daughter Lourdes Leon roasts fans in profane Instagram debut | Page Six Celebrity News
January 25, 2021
Ccm33W71UvQ
Elizabeth Hurley goes topless under furry coat while posing in the snow | Page Six Celebrity News
January 25, 2021
Vjx6F0aLcWQ
This 'Salt-N-Pepa' actress messed up 'Shoop' at her audition | Page Six Celebrity News
January 25, 2021
M7TlIGbJFLI
Pete Davidson Tells Glenn Close He Thought She Was British | Actors on Actors
January 25, 2021
z_nLMQyx-nk
Golden Globes: Limited Series & TV Movie -- Who Will Be Nominated?
January 25, 2021
UJ8Ty2uStzs
Jamie Dornan & Eddie Redmayne Remember Nightmare Auditions When They Were Roommates Actors on Actors
January 24, 2021
R7yV_QSFM5I
COVID-Sniffing Dogs Could Screen Passengers in U.S. Airports | TMZ
January 25, 2021
b3vkxpnG2_g
Frontier Airlines Passenger Complains About Sick Passenger and Told He Should Drive | TMZ
January 24, 2021
VC2XrqJX6_8
Mattel Honors Poet Maya Angelou With Barbie Doll | TMZ TV
January 21, 2021
nEnK5Q3VqeY
Queen Victoria Comes for Katie, Cheesy Roleplay & Bro-Zoned - "Nightly Pop" 01/25/21 | E! News
January 26, 2021
rL0W6V7Qc3U
J.Lo Challenge Backfires, Wendy's Fall & Bridgerton Sex Scenes - "Nightly Pop" 01/25/21 | E! News
January 25, 2021
T0icFdpMMVg
"Bling Empire" Star Kelly Mi Li Reveals Relationship Status | E! News
January 25, 2021
dn-agi3giT4
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
26
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Southampton - Arsenal
26
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Manchester City
26
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Bristol City - Huddersfield
26
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Millwall - Watford
26
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Leeds
26
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - West Ham United
25
Jan
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Getafe
24
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Schalke - Bayern Munich
24
Jan
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Valencia
24
Jan
SPAIN: La Liga
Elche - Barcelona
24
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Verona - Napoli
24
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Bologna
24
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Sampdoria
23
Jan
SPAIN: La Liga
Alaves - Real Madrid
23
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Inter Milan
23
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Atalanta
23
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Spezia
22
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - Borussia Dortmund
21
Jan
SPAIN: La Liga
Eibar - Atletico Madrid
21
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Burnley
20
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Aston Villa
20
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Augsburg - Bayern Munich
20
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Fulham - Manchester United
19
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Borussia Dortmund
19
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Chelsea
18
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Newcastle United
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.