The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has urged the Government to commit fully to protecting the UK’s food and environmental standards in the Trade Bill currently making its way through parliament.
The Trade Bill provides the legislative framework for post-Brexit UK trade policy. However, the CIEH says that future trade agreements could have significant implications for public health, food safety and standards and the environment, and it is therefore important that any potential trade deals are subjected to parliamentary scrutiny.
The CIEH adds that it is deeply concerned that the Bill does not include provisions to protect UK food standards, to ensure that trade agreements are subject to independent impact assessments, or to provide parliament with powers to scrutinise and vote on trade deals.
“It is vital that any new trade deal is properly debated and scrutinised in parliament, and that our high food and environmental standards are not bargained away behind closed doors.”
It is therefore calling for the Trade Bill to be amended in order to ensure that imported food products are subject to the same food safety, animal welfare, and environmental standards as domestic products.
Debbie Wood, executive director for membership and external Affairs at CIEH, said: “The Trade Bill is a real chance for the Government to back up its warm words on protecting our country’s food and environmental standards post-Brexit with some clear commitments enshrined in law.
“It is vital that any new trade deal is properly debated and scrutinised in parliament, and that our high food and environmental standards are not bargained away behind closed doors.
“Our members have made it abundantly clear that any undercutting of our standards could have serious repercussions on our public health. We’re calling on the Government to amend the Trade Bill to guarantee full scrutiny of any new trade deals and to commit, once and for all, to protecting our country’s high standards in legislation.”