CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

DEFRA – FARMING, ANIMAL WELFARE AND FOOD PRODUCTION STANDARDS [51519] – 28 May 2020

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to safeguard British farmers from the adverse effects of future imports of food that would be illegal to produce in the UK; what role he plans for the compulsory labelling of food products in those safeguarding arrangements; and whether he will establish a permanent body to ensure that the UK's high standards in (a) animal welfare, (b) food production and (c) food processing are maintained in the implementation of future trade deals.  [51519]

[Due for Answer on 4 June.]

ANSWER

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Victoria Prentis):  At the end of the transition period, the Withdrawal Act will convert all EU food safety, animal and plant health, animal welfare and environmental standards into domestic law. This includes a ban on using artificial growth hormones in both domestic and imported products. Nothing apart from potable water may be used to clean chicken carcasses. Any changes to these standards would have to come before Parliament.

The Government has also committed to a rapid review and a consultation on the role of labelling to promote high standards of animal welfare.

Finally, this Government was elected on a manifesto commitment that in all of our trade negotiations we will not compromise on our high environmental protections, animal welfare and food standards. The UK will maintain its own autonomous sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regime to protect public, animal and plant life and health and the environment, reflecting its existing high standards. We will repatriate the functions of audit and inspections to ensure that trading partners, including those we secure trade deals with, continue to meet our import conditions. This will provide a standing, robust system that will work alongside border controls to maintain our high standards going forward.