Plot emerges 'mistakenly' calling for UK to ditch food standards to secure US deal

Plot to ditch EU food and safety standards threatens food producers, a Green MEP has said
Plot to ditch EU food and safety standards threatens food producers, a Green MEP has said

A plot has emerged "mistakenly" by leading Brexiteers to ditch EU food and safety standards post-Brexit to secure a US trade deal, according to an MEP.

The coalition of conservative think tanks are pushing for a free trade agreement that would allow the import of US meats, drugs and chemicals currently banned in Britain, according to Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato.

Dr Scott Cato said the revelations of the plot "emerged mistakenly" on the website of the Initiative for Free Trade organisation, which was founded by Brexit advocate and Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan.

They call for Britain to recognise US standards, which are weaker than those adopted by the EU.

The revelation follows worries by the British farming industry that any trade deal between the UK and US could result in chlorinated chicken and hormone-reared beef entering the market.

Dr Scott Cato, a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, said this confirmed her "worst fears" for farmers and food producers

“For many rightwing conservatives, Brexit has always been about tearing up high EU standards on food safety, environmental protection and animal welfare, under the guise of freeing the UK from ‘red tape’,” she said.

“Farmers and food producers in the South West will rightly feel deeply concerned about pressure to ditch these higher standards.

“Any trade agreement with the US which allows for the import of food and drugs produced without these current safeguards will threaten the viability of many small-scale farmers and food producers. They simply could not compete with the mega-farms and giant corporations of the US.”

Dr Scott Cato said many promises made by Brexiteers during the referendum campaign are being "broken" in "secret talks behind closed doors".

She added: “This revelation also destroys the credibility of Michael Gove's promise to ensure a 'Green Brexit'. As more evidence emerges of the risks of a Tory Brexit we continue to demand a referendum on the final deal with the option to retain all the protections that membership of the EU offers.”