Readers give their views on a the prospect of a trade deal with Donald Trump, and what it will bring to our food shelves.
With no-deal getting closer and the necessity of a trade deal with America therefore growing, I detect a media push to persuade us that the infamous chlorinated chicken is not all that bad. Already the former Tory vice-chair Ben Bradley has equated it with the chlorine put into water to protect against infection from rusting pipes.
The point is that chlorine washing in the USA is used to remove bacteria associated with poor hygiene and animal welfare standards. It gives giant producers a cheap get-out from keeping animals in filth and misery before they are killed.
There are even questions about its effectiveness. Yet this is the sort of stuff Boris Johnson thinks you should eat.
One of the worst things about putting ourselves at the mercy of a trade agreement with Trump’s America is how it will affect consumer choice. This is not just about opening up UK markets to lower food safety and environmental standards, such as hormone- and antibiotic-injected meat.
Manufacturing products made in Europe are generally fabricated to higher standards of quality and durability than those in the US, and this has long been the case. It is not a coincidence that the phrase ‘built-in obsolescence’ had its origins in the US of the 1920s. General Motors based their philosophy on the principle, so much so that Volkswagen in Europe mocked the concept in their own advertising campaign of the late 1950s.
The displacement of European products in favour of US products may well be cheaper, but for that, UK consumers will be sacrificing quality, reliability and durability. A trade deal with Trump’s US would mean a dumbing-down of standards.
Although Boris Johnson is making a great play about protecting the NHS from a Trump trade deal, it’s not the NHS which needs protecting; it’s NICE.
This is the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence which compares quality and price in the pharmaceutical industry.
Trump will want it abolished or neutered. As Ian Dunt writes in Brexit: What The Hell Happens Now?: “As a consequence, drug prices will rise. The full effect will only be felt years later. But a decade on, say [in 2030], the health service’s already precarious finances will come under intolerable strain from the extra costs.”
Nick Seale (Letters, TNE #156) states that in the event of a no-deal Brexit the UK would become the 51st state of the USA. It would be far worse than that as we would have no vote to elect US politicians and therefore no say in our destiny. Under those circumstances the UK stands a high risk of becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of the USA.
Of course Trump is keen to implement a deal. Vultures are always pleased to pick over a corpse.
David Lee, Epsom
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