Highland’s MP Drew Hendry (pictured) has stated the threat to Scottish food and drink standards is growing as a new report lays bare the wish for “agriculture liberalisation” in any new trade deal with the US.
The report by The Policy Exchange, which concludes “improving market access for US agriculture exports” will be a priority, further fuels concerns of low standard ‘frankenfood’ imports flooding the UK market – harming Scotland’s booming high-quality food and drink industry.
Mr Hendry, along with his SNP colleagues, recently put forward an amendment to the Trade Bill that would have seen food standards protected in any future UK-US trade deal, however these concerns were dismissed by the UK Government.
On Saturday, the UK Department for International Trade appeared to be paving the way for low-standard food imports, tweeting an article defending chlorinated chicken – currently banned in the UK under EU-wide higher food and animal welfare standards.
Research by Which? shows that 72% of people in the UK do not want products such as chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-fed beef to be allowed on sale in the UK at all.
Commenting, Drew Hendry said:
“It is clear that the threat to Scotland’s food and drink industry from a Tory-Trump trade deal is growing by the day – as demands to flood the UK market with low-standard frankenfood imports like chlorine chicken, ractopamine pork and hormone-injected beef intensify.
“Alongside this, with Boris Johnson’s government plotting a power grab on the Scottish Parliament to force through these lower food and animal welfare standards, it’s clear the Tories cannot be trusted to keep their promises to Scottish farmers, producers and consumers.
“The Prime Minister must rule out any attempt to roll-back devolution or undermine our thriving food and drink industry, and answer the questions being put to him by farmers and producers the length and breadth of my constituency.
“The SNP will resist this Tory power grab all the way – and there is wide consensus among parties in the Scottish Parliament against any attack on the devolution settlement.
“The Highlands is an area where a large number of people have jobs that depend on selling high quality food and drinks produce.
“They are rightly worried about the impact such a trade deal would have.
“It is simply not good enough for the Scottish Tories to tow the Westminster line – they must stand up for Scottish business interests.
“If anything has become clear over the last few years, it is that Scotland has been completely ignored by Westminster throughout the Brexit process and now our devolution is under attack, despite reassurances back in 2014.
“Whatever happens, it is clearer than ever that the only way to protect our economy and our place in Europe is to become an independent country.”