Food standards will be maintained post-Brexit

By Aidan Fortune contact

- Last updated on GMT

George Eustice offered further assurances that food standards will 'not be abandoned
George Eustice offered further assurances that food standards will 'not be abandoned
The Government has given further assurances that standards in food processing will not be compromised during Brexit.

Speaking at the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) conference in London, Defra Minister of State George Eustice said current food processing standards will be maintained once the UK leaves the EU.

When questioned about the potential for the British market being "flooded with cheaper imports"​, with US poultry given as an example, Eustice said "the Government will not water down standards in pursuit of a trade deal"​.

"We have standards that we will not abandon and we cannot get spooked about what other countries might ask for,"​ he said. 

Eustice said although many businesses are expressing concern about the UK's impending exit from the EU, he expected that there will be some consistency from later this year until 2020 as the Government negotiates the exit.

He debunked the suggestion that countries such as the US have the upper hand in talks. "The US wants to have access to the UK market as much as we want access to the US."

He said it was a similar situation for the EU. "The EU wants access to our market as well. They need access to our market."

Labour

Eustice also expressed hope that labour issues would be resolved and that "leaving ​[the EU] doesn't meant pulling up the drawbridge but rather helps you set the numbers"​.

When the BMPA gave evidence to the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee earlier this year, it warned that the industry is heavily reliant on migrant labour and will be one of the sectors most affected by Brexit. BMPA research also revealed that between 65% and 70% of members' workforces are not from the UK.

Related topics: Food Safety, Meat & poultry, Brexit Debate

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