Public fear lowering of food standards in a post-Brexit trade deal, poll claims

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump during the annual Nato heads of government summit. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump during the annual Nato heads of government summit. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Most people are worried about meat quality standards being lowered in a future trade deal with the United States, a new poll has found.

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More than four fifths of 2,000 people surveyed voiced concern about meat standards, Unison said.

The union said its poll also showed that just over half of people believe government regulations should be tightened following the UK's departure from the EU.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "Public safety and confidence in the food on our plates is at stake as this Government puts everything on the line for a trade deal.

"Cosying up to the US president shouldn't mean dropping standards by accepting meat with poor hygiene, which has been given a blast of bleach or acid to gloss over its murky past.

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"Consumers care how their food is prepared, that's why they want independent checks. They'll have no faith if the industry is virtually left to look after itself.

"The government must fund proper inspections rather than put lives at risk or undermine trust in food safety.

"Brexit should mean the UK's current high standards are maintained or improved, not the introduction of bargain-basement, third-rate standards."

Sue Davies, of consumer group Which?, said: "Our research has shown consumers value the UK's high food standards and most people believe food produced to a lower standard should not be available in this country.

"It is vital that the nation's health is not used as a bargaining chip in negotiations for future trade deals, so the Government must legislate to prevent imports produced to lower standards, such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef, from entering the UK.

"The opportunity must be taken to use trade deals to build upon the UK's rights and standards by pursuing an ambitious trade agenda that sets the gold standard globally in delivering for consumers."

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