CIEH urges the Government to protect food standards as Lords pass critical amendment to the Agriculture Bill

23 September 2020, Ross Matthewman

CIEH has welcomed the news that a key amendment to Agriculture Bill, requiring food imports to meet domestic standards was voted through in the House of Lords.

Despite repeated assurances from Ministers that UK standards will not be compromised post-Brexit, earlier attempts to amend the Agriculture Bill were thwarted by the Government.

CIEH has been lobbying peers on the issue of food standards, urging support for amendments to enshrine the UK’s existing high food safety, animal welfare and environmental standards for both domestic and imported products in law.

Yesterday represented a key breakthrough for public health, as peers passed Amendment 93 on food standards, defeating the Government by 95 votes.

Now the Bill will return once again to the House of Commons where MPs will have the opportunity to vote on and possibly overturn this amendment.

Gary McFarlane, Northern Ireland Director at CIEH, said:

“This is a huge victory for our campaign to ensure that Britain’s high food safety, environmental and animal welfare standards are not undermined in future trade agreements.

Without legal protections, UK consumers could be exposed to cheap, low-quality imports like chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef, undermining existing standards and paving the way for the erosion of British standards in the future.

We are delighted that the House of Lords has been able to hold the Government to account on its manifesto commitment to maintain and improve existing standards post-Brexit.

Voices from all corners of society have all warned that our treasured food standards should not be up for negotiation. In the interests of protecting public health, the Government must now honour its commitments and not seek to overturn this amendment.”

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