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UK Food Safety Could See 'Huge Decline' After US-UK Free Trade Deal – Lord Deben

© Photo : PixabayEnglish breakfast
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Forging a trade deal with the US will lead to a "huge decline" in British food safety standards, a former UK cabinet minister warned on Monday. Both Westminster and Scottish government spokespeople have commented on the matter.

Lord Deben said that the British people would not allow lower food and animal welfare standards as part of a UK-US post-Brexit trade deal. 

Lord Deben serves as chairman of the UK Climate Change Committee and was a former secretary of state for the environment under then-prime minister John Major. 

"We wouldn't treat our animals as badly as they do there… I don't think the British people would put up with it," he told the London Guardian, adding that the US would demand inclusion of American agricultural products in future deals.  

"I know this — I've negotiated with them, for the whole of the EU… You have four times as much food-borne disease in the US," Lord Deben warned. 

READ MORE: EU May Hit Back if UK Drops Food Safety Checks in No-Deal Brexit – Report

While environment secretary Michael Gove insists that British authorities will maintain UK food standards, international trade secretary Liam Fox remains flexible to compromise.

"We have been absolutely clear that we will not water down our high food safety in the pursuit of any future trade agreements," a UK government spokesperson said in a press statement. "As we leave the EU, we are committed to securing the best deal for the food, fishery and farming sectors. 

"While it is vital that we explore new trading opportunities, these should not mean a dilution of the standards for which British food is world renowned," the spokesperson said. 

Scottish Government Comments on UK Food Safety 

A Scottish government spokesperson told Sputnik that Scottish regulations "remain essential" in order to preserve the nation's food and drink industry, especially in the post-Brexit economy. 

"Our view is regulations on animal and plant health and food safety remain essential, both for the reputation of our food and drink industry and to maintain access to the EU and other international markets," the spokesperson replied. 

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"Consumers should always have confidence in the safety and quality of the food they eat and we are committed to maintaining EU standards and regulations post Brexit," the spokesperson continued. "We have also asked UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove to introduce amendments to his agricultural bill which require imported food to match the standards and regulations of our produce." 

"Food Standards Scotland is also committed to ensuring food safety requirements continue to be met, regardless of where food is from and this will continue following the UK's exit from the European Union."

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