Jamie Oliver begs Prime Minister not to open ‘locks’ to the US – as opinion reveals public concern about American meat
An overwhelming majority of the British are against measures to scrap animal welfare and environmental regulations as part of a new trade deal with the United States, according to an exclusive Mail on Sunday survey.
The news comes when TV chief Jamie Oliver joins The Mail on Sunday’s Save Our Family Farms campaign today and makes a passionate plea against the prime minister to ‘not open the floodgates’ for low-cost, low-cost imports from the US and at the same time cause world-class British producers to go bankrupt.
There are just over 50 days for MPs to stop a hugely important change in law that family farm campaigners fear will let in substandard food.
Most British are opposed to sacrificing current animal welfare and environmental rules as part of a trade deal negotiated with America, says an exclusive mail poll on Sunday (photo)
Last week, we revealed a cabinet gap on this issue, fearing international trade secretary Liz Truss is preparing to scrap British welfare standards to sign an agreement with Donald Trump.
Ms Truss has been accused by peasant leaders of planning to turn Britain into a ‘pariah state’ by allowing imports of cheap food pumped with antibiotics and hormones to reach an agreement with the White Obtaining a home after Britain’s transition period with the EU ends in December – something she emphasizes that she has no intention of doing.
Environmental Secretary George Eustice fears that flooding the British market with cheap American products could make many British farmers disappear.
British are concerned about opening the floodgates for cheap and cheaper imports from the US.
And last night the argument deepened when former Secretary of State Theresa Villiers – one of 18 Tory MPs who rebelled against the substandard food threat earlier this month – said, “We all want a good trade deal with the US, but it has to be one that is fair to British farmers and does not affect our world-class food and animal welfare standards. ‘
According to the Deltapoll survey, nearly three-quarters of respondents say that upholding UK welfare standards should be the priority, rather than reaching an agreement with Washington.
Another 59 percent believe our farmers should be protected against countries with lower food standards.
The poll also reveals deep-seated, negative views of U.S. agriculture, with 79 percent saying the UK has better food production standards.
More than two-thirds are concerned about the health risks of eating meat that has been washed with chemicals like chlorine, while 77 percent say a reduction in antibiotic use in meat should be part of a trade deal.
The flash point of the Tory row is the current agricultural law that does not establish environmental or welfare rules for post-Brexit imports of agricultural products.
Now that the government hopes it will become law in mid-July, Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers’ Union, said the death knell for the traditional family farm could sound in a matter of weeks.
British also want to prevent high-quality British producers from going bankrupt
The survey found that 71 percent of people are concerned that allowing under-sized American products to enter the market could lead to the extinction of traditional British farms.
About 62 percent of respondents said they were concerned about the future way of life of our farmers.
The bill also paves the way for environmental subsidies to be paid to landowners, even if they don’t use their land for agriculture: current EU rules state that handouts should only be given if the land is used for agriculture or livestock: 48 percent of people are against this plan and 26 percent support it.
Earlier this year, The Mail on Sunday revealed that Tim Leunig, a powerful advisor to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, had suggested that Britain did not need its own agricultural sector.
Asked about this, only 16 percent said the UK doesn’t need farmers because “we can import everything we need to eat.” Three quarters disagreed.
Deltapoll co-founder Joe Twyman said, “A large section of the public is skeptical of what a potential trade deal with the US could mean for agriculture and food in the UK.”
Jamie Oliver’s passionate open letter to Prime Minister as he joins Mail on Sunday’s campaign to save our family farms
I hope you are well and that your family is safe. I am writing this letter because I believe you are on the verge of seriously undermining public health and unraveling the delicate patchwork of farmers and food producers that form the backbone of this country.
While we are all focused on the consequences of this terrible pandemic, most people reading this are unlikely to know that you have beaten your MPs to vote the amendments to the agricultural bill that would have upheld British food and animal welfare standards for the future trade agreements and imports.
We would be about to open the floodgates for a whole range of low quality food that would normally be illegal in the UK. Chlorinated chicken is just the tip of the iceberg. We are talking about genetically modified food, stuffing animals full of hormones and antibiotics, banned pesticides that kill our bees and an avalanche of foods high in fat, salt and sugar.
In addition, we threaten the future of our farmers and food producers who, despite extraordinary challenges, have worked so hard to feed us during the Covid-19 crisis.
Britain’s favorite chef joins Mail o Sunday’s vital campaign with a passionate open letter to the Prime Minister
Boris, it is in your power to map out an intelligent structure in which we maintain Britain’s high standards, but also retain the ability to conclude trade agreements that are good for the economy.
In my opinion, some of the largest emerging economies are hungry for a reliable and safe food supply, and this is where we can flourish. Brand Britain and its wealth of food producers are perfectly placed to supply, but if food standards are weakened, a race to the bottom will follow – and I believe this is a race we will lose. Public health is being compromised and our ability to export high-quality, trusted product will decline.
We need not be reminded that Covid-19 appears to come from the food chain. This crisis has made us all stop and think a bit more about what we eat, where our food comes from and how it affects our bodies.
The association between high standards, food safety, animal welfare, ethics, traceability and sustainability has never been more important. These things affect us all every day.
Boris, I know you have to be in charge so that your teams can do their job when it comes to trade deals. I assume you voted against the amendment to give you a blank sheet of paper so that you can close deals quickly.
Of course we want to trade, but not at any price. Having standards – in law – will actually strengthen your hand in negotiations. I believe you have what it takes to find the right balance. What looks like a simple piece of legislation marks you in history as guardian of the land and prosperity, or as someone who has opened Pandora’s box for the rapid erosion of the food and agriculture industries.
“Ultimately, we should aim to push up trading partner standards and not negotiate our own,” says Jamie Oliver
This is a critical moment – an opportunity for us to build a stronger and better food system.
If it turns out that other countries can produce food by British standards and sell it to us at a cheaper price than we can produce it ourselves, then you play fair to them.
Of course we must be flexible and open to trading with both old and new friends. Ultimately, however, we should strive to raise trading partner standards, not negotiate our own.
Now that critical trade talks are mounting, we need to make sure we have learned our lesson from this pandemic. It has made it clear that we need to simplify our food system so that we are less dependent on imports.
The UK is blessed with some of the best food producers in the world – something we should appreciate and protect – but we currently only produce 53 percent of our vegetables and 16 percent of our fresh fruit.
Our climate is perfect for growing products, so we could easily grow more, not only for ourselves, but also for export.
“The UK is blessed with some of the best food producers in the world – something we should appreciate and protect – but we currently only produce 53 percent of our vegetables and 16 percent of our fresh fruit,” says Jamie
And producing more fruits and vegetables here in the UK would of course also be good for the planet.
Boris, I urge you to reconsider the agricultural law.
Only you have the strength to put us on the right path. Only you have the power to get all those MPs to vote for the amendment (and Rishi, don’t accidentally hit the wrong vote button again). This bill should be about defending our high standards of food safety and traceability, animal welfare and care for our environment.
It should ensure that British farmers and food producers can continue to evolve and deliver sustainable, healthy food without worrying about being undermined unjustly.
I know that you are committed to the interests of Britain, Prime Minister, but true democracy cannot rely on the word of one man or woman – it requires the assurance of a sustainable legal framework that decisions affecting Britain companies and public health, research and research.
We have just a few days to get this right, pending the next critical debate at the House of Lords on June 10. Hopefully, the public is already writing letters to their local MPs to express their concerns.
This is a unique opportunity for you, as prime minister, to show real leadership and reshape our food system.
“Our children are most vulnerable when our markets are flooded with unhealthy foods high in fat, salt and sugar,” says Jamie. Pictured: A girl cooks at home after a Jamie Oliver video
It is an opportunity to support all those important workers who have helped us to put a meal on the table during this crisis. An opportunity to enable the UK to set the standard for sustainable food production, and – crucially – to put public and child health at the heart of the government.
Good quality food should be accessible to everyone, but as I have been campaigning for children’s health for 20 years, I am incredibly concerned about the impact bad trade agreements can have on our children.
Our children will be most vulnerable if our markets are flooded with unhealthy foods high in fat, salt and sugar.
We must put the health of our children first. Now, more than ever, we need our children to grow up strong and healthy, ready to take on life.
For example, we just saw that overweight or overweight people have become more vulnerable to Covid-19. We absolutely must give our children the best chance to make healthy choices.
Boris, as you said yourself, we owe it to our future generations to build better.
One in eight jobs in the UK is related to the food supply. This agricultural bill is a crucial first chance to get the economy going again and support thousands of small family businesses while protecting our health and our countryside. Prime Minister, take this opportunity and ensure that food standards are not compromised.
Best wishes Jamie