Food Standards and Trade (Feb 2020)

It is vital that people across the UK have confidence in the food that they eat, which is why I welcome the Government’s very clear commitment that future trade agreements must uphold our country’s high food standards. Ministers have made clear these standards will not be watered down in pursuit of any trade deal.

Four public consultations were launched in 2018 providing people with the opportunity to give their views (for example, on food standards) in potential future Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the USA, Australia, New Zealand and on the UK’s consideration of accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. All four consultations collectively attracted over 600,000 responses – making this one of the largest consultation exercises (by volume of responses) run by the UK Government. In any future potential trade agreement that the UK seeks to negotiate, the Government will undertake proportionate consultation.

Transitioning EU trade agreements: To provide continuity in our country’s existing trade relationships, the Government is transitioning existing EU trade agreements to which our country is party into UK law. As the Government is working to transition these trade agreements on the closest possible terms to each original agreement, this process will not have an impact on food standards.

I support the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) “Regulating Our Future” programme, which seeks to modernise the way that food businesses are regulated, by creating a system that is modern, risk-based, proportionate, robust and resilient. One example of the work which the FSA is currently doing to tackle poor food standards is its campaign against campylobacter, the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK.