Scottish Government describes Dr Liam Fox’s stance on a UK-US trade deal as “concerning and confusing”
Dr Liam Fox under pressure following reports the UK is considering lifting ban – introduced by the EU – on importing chemically-washed poultry after Brexit
The Scottish Government has described Dr Liam Fox’s stance on a UK-US trade deal as “concerning and confusing”, after reports the UK Trade Secretary was considering lifting a ban – introduced by the EU – on importing chemically-washed poultry after Brexit.
With Fox under pressure over concerns a trade deal with the US would lead to lower food standards, Scottish Government Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing warned it was “imperative that any trade deal agreed in the wake of the Brexit process does not compromise our values”.
Concerns emerged after Theresa May’s spokesman refused to rule out lifting the ban.
- When it comes to immigration Theresa May seems to have no idea what she is doing
- Alasdair Allan on making Scotland's voice heard
- A place to call home: How the Brexit vote has left Europeans in Scotland feeling lost
Fox was forced to reject calls from pro-EU campaign group Open Britain to eat a chlorinated chicken to prove he believed they are safe, saying: “The British media are obsessed with chlorine-washed chickens, a detail of the very end stage of one sector of a potential free trade agreement.”
Ewing’s comments follow a report from the Lords EU Environment Committee which found UK food standards industry had an “overwhelming” reliance on EU workers.
The Lords urged the Government to include high farm welfare standards in any trade agreements negotiated post-Brexit and said there was no reason quality should slip after the UK leaves the bloc.
A spokesperson for Theresa May said: “Our position when it comes to food is that maintaining safety and public confidence in the food we eat is the highest priority and any future trade deal must work for UK farmers, businesses and consumers.”
The comments led Fergus Ewing to call for Scotland to play a greater role in Brexit negotiations.
He said: “The EU-wide food safety and animal health and welfare standards which Scotland and the UK currently adhere to are some of the highest in the world.
“For example, the EU has banned the importation of certain foods which are produced in a particular way, including hormone-treated cattle or chlorine washed poultry. Scotland and the UK proudly boasts a gold standard level of animal welfare, the chicken industry is no exception. The USA at present is some way to catch up on our standards.”
He added: “It is very concerning and confusing that the Trade Secretary is now open to such a deal through which the standards of the food products that we import into this country may be compromised. The UK Government can’t have it both ways.
“The quality of the food we eat is of the utmost importance and we expect a high standard of welfare in our production process. It is imperative that any trade deal agreed in the wake of the Brexit process does not compromise our values in this area.
“Regulations on animal and plant health and food safety remain essential for our reputation and to access EU markets, and Scottish producers and manufactures need confidence that these rules will be maintained in order to enable them to remain competitive.”
Food Processing, Marketing & Co-operation grants handed out to 13 businesses across Scotland
UK Low Carbon and Renewable Energy (LCRE) Economy Survey suggests 58,500 people employed in Scotland in low-carbon activities in 2015
Draft climate change plan sets out the Government’s emission reduction strategy over the next 15 years
Report identified those in rented flats, both in the private and socially rented sector, households in rural areas and those relying on electric heating as particularly at risk
Vodafone explores some of the ways IoT is significantly improving public sector service delivery
Microsoft Surface has helped Cheshire Police reduce paperwork and free up time
Microsoft partner FlowForma walks through its efforts to empower local government as part of a series that highlights local government innovators across the UK
Microsoft partner CPS walks through its efforts to empower local government as part of a series that highlights local government innovators across the UK