Substandard food imports remain a concern ahead of trade negotiations

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Press Release

The failure to enshrine a commitment against substandard food imports into the UK is deeply disappointing, Scottish Land & Estates said today.

The organisation made the comments following the third reading of the Agriculture Bill in the House of Commons last night.

Eleanor Kay, Policy Adviser (Agriculture) at Scottish Land & Estates, said: “As we embark on negotiating trade deals, it is hugely disappointing that the UK Government did not take this opportunity to enshrine a clear commitment to preventing substandard imports undercutting domestic food produced to high British farming standards. This issue has united farming, consumer, environmental and animal welfare organisations and codifying the commitment in law would have strengthened the government’s hand in trade talks as a food standard which could not be deviated from. 

“If this is not addressed, we face a very real prospect of British farming being undermined by imported food which can be produced to a standard which would be unacceptable and illegal in the UK. All we ask for is a level playing field.  It could also impair the market for quality local produce - something which appears to be flourishing as we adhere to lockdown. This matter is still live, however, and we will continue to make our views clear as the Bill passes through the Lords and as other trade legislation passes through parliament.”