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In a mass show of support for British farming and food production, over one million people have signed NFU’s petition urging the Government to secure future trade deals in favour of the country’s growers and producers.
The petition comes as Government failed to secure a deal with the European Union that would uphold the standards of British farming and food production. Currently, deals look likely to lead to an increase in low-quality food imports that would be deemed illegal to produce in the UK.
In just two weeks, NFU amassed an overwhelming amount of support for its petition. What’s more, 78,000 people have written to their MP also urging them to support the introduction of a Trade, Food and Farming Standards Commission to review trade policy and create solutions that would hold all imported foods to the UK’s high standards.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “It has been overwhelming to see this volume of support. The fact that more than one million people have signed a petition urging the government to put into law rules that prevent food being imported to the UK which is produced in ways that would be illegal here is a clear signal of how passionate the British public feel about this issue.
“It is now clear that it is simply not credible for the Government to continue to just pay lip service to this issue, when there is such public support for action. They must now give guarantees to the British people that they have listened to their concerns and will make firm commitments to address them.
“Trade policy is complicated, but what the public is telling us is quite simple: they care deeply about their food, where it comes from and how it is produced.
“They do not want to see chlorinated chicken or hormone-fed beef on their supermarket shelves, nor do they want to see food imported which has been produced in lower welfare or environmental systems than is legally allowed in this country. Farmers, animal welfare groups, environmentalists and now the public have made their voices clear.
“There is a simple solution that we are presenting: the introduction of a Trade, Food and Farming Standards Commission. This would be an independent body that can review trade policy and ensure all of our food imports are held to the same standards expected of British farmers.
“Given the clear commitments in the Conservative Party manifesto that they will not compromise British farming’s high standards, is it not a logical next step to put in place a panel of experts that can carry out that direction?
“These are decisions that will leave a legacy for decades and generations to come. It is so important that we get this right. Access to safe, traceable, affordable and nutritious food produced to the highest standards should be a right for all. We must not throw that away in the pursuit of free trade.”