EXISTING high-quality food standards should be maintained for all products imported to the UK, Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake has said.
The Westminster Government has said that it will not lower food standards for UK producers, but there is growing speculation that they will allow lower-quality imports to be sold in the UK as a part of the scramble for post-Brexit trade deals.
Mr. Lake said the Westminster Government looks like it is “pulling the rug from under farmers and the consumer”.
The use of drugs and rearing practices in some countries which are currently banned in the UK would not only lead to lower-quality food being sold in the UK, but risk undercutting UK produce on price.
For instance, cost-cutting measures in the large-scale, US factory farming industry lead to lower comparative costs. Pig in the US, for example, are often reared using sow stalls – which stop the female pigs moving – which are banned in the UK and EU.
The Conservative Government blocked an attempt to ensure a level playing field on standards for all food sold in the UK when a cross-party amendment to the Agriculture Bill, backed by Plaid Cymru, was voted down last month (13 May).
Ben Lake MP said:
“It is becoming increasingly clear that the UK Government is willing to trade away the future of our rural economy in return for a few quick trade deals that will provide little if any benefit to Welsh consumers or producers.
“Wales has world-leading farmers producing food and drink to the highest standards, and so it would be unforgivable if the UK Government were to let cheaper, low-quality imports to undermine not only their efforts but their livelihoods too.
“Any food imports must adhere to our high standards: to allow otherwise would undermine the future of Welsh agriculture.”