The UK government refused to promise that the UK ban on hormone-injected beef will continue, after the Australia trade deal is concluded in the next few weeks.
According to The Independent, Boris Johnson’s spokesman declined to comment four times.
The spokesman insisted however that the UK will not “compromise on food standards and animal welfare”.
He did not say what future import requirements will be – just that future deals will have to match them.
The news come after, last year, trade secretary Liz Truss and environment secretary George Eustice guaranteed good standards.
“Chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef are already banned in the UK and we will not negotiate to remove that ban in a trade deal,” they said in November 2020.
Australia has requested in 2018 that the UK accepts hormone-injected beef imports, as part of post-Brexit trade proposals.
The practice is very common in Australia, but the country denied EU’s claims that at least one of the hormones can cause cancer.
No 10 has previously promised that any food safety changes would mean new laws to be debated by the UK parliament.
Anne McIntosh, a Conservative peer and campaigner, told The Independent: “The government must honour its commitment to keep the trust of the British people, one million of whom signed the petition calling for such a safeguard.
“That means no entry for any beef from Australia or elsewhere produced with hormones or in other ways which do not meet our standards.”
UK farmers worried about “irreversible” industry damage
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has slammed a potential Cabinet agreement which could offer Australia a zero-tariff, zero quota trade deal, despite UK farmers’ fears.
Earlier this week, 19 farming bodies have insisted on UK’s high farming standards to be kept.
The farming organisation have urged the government to stand up for UK farmers in negotiations.
They asked for protections to tackle climate change, “irreversible” industry damage and to prevent negative precedents which could reflect in future trade deals.
They also called on the government to ensure trade deals are “genuinely reciprocal” in terms of national benefits.
National Farmers’ Union (NFU) president Minette Batters said: “We know that if we’re to open up the opportunities of new markets overseas for UK farmers, we will have to offer greater access to our own markets in return.
“However, this trade-off needs to be balanced, and we need to make sure concessions to our hugely valuable home market are not given away lightly.
“There is a very real risk that, if we get it wrong, UK farming will suffer irreversible damage rather than flourish in the way we all desire, to the detriment of our environment, our food security and our rural communities.”