I am extremely concerned that ongoing trade negotiations with many other countries will have a detrimental impact on our food standards, many that we enjoyed as part of the EU.
A trade deal with the US risks exposing the UK marketplace to products that are far below the consumer standards in the UK – Scotland’s, and the UK’s, farming community could not have been clearer that they want all standards to be protected; world-class standards underpin our world-class brand.
Consumer group ‘Which?’ found that 72% of people in the UK do not want food that does not meet current standards – there are plenty of specific examples of products that, if imported into the UK, will not only have an effect on UK businesses but will also have an effect on consumers’ health.
As an example, a report from Healthy Babies, Bright Futures found that 95% of US baby foods contained lead while 73% contained arsenic, 75% contained cadmium and 32% contained mercury, with a quarter containing all four.
Consumer group ‘Which?’ said that allowing chlorinated chicken and hormone injected beef into the UK’s food market would pose the biggest threat to food safety since mad cow disease.
I fully support a ban on the import of food which is produced to standards lower than those in the UK or using practices that are illegal in the UK for health and environmental reasons, including chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef.
The Scottish Tories voted five times in the Trade Bill and also five times in the Agriculture Bill with the government against protecting food standards – the SNP has consistently sought to amend any trade legislation to provide protections to the current food standards as a minimum.
While I do not oppose increasing trade with the US, this should never happen at the expense of consumers (in particular our children) and the current standards in all consumer goods should be maintained as an absolute minimum. I will support any amendments to the Trade Bill that return from the Lords that will protect current environmental, consumer and labour standards in our imports and their supply chains as a minimum. I have also previously written to the Secretary of State for Trade regarding those, voicing my concerns and the concerns of my constituents.