Sustain: Liam Fox, don’t force US food standards on us

Food policy organisations have come together to object to Trade Secretary Liam Fox's dismissal of chlorinated chicken as a "detail". The groups work to improve public health, reduce farm antibiotics, control pesticides, promote children's nutrition, and to champion healthy and sustainable food policies.

This joint statement of concern, co-signed by the organisations listed, was submitted to The Telegraph newspaper in response to the article 'Why US trade deal could hinge on Britons eating chlorinated chicken'.

"We are concerned to hear that International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is considering the UK accepting chlorine-dipped chicken in order to win a new trade deal with America, and considers such issues a “detail”.

"Winning new trade deals is of course important for the economy, but changing food standards without appropriate consideration and agreement is unacceptable. Trade Secretary Liam Fox has no mandate, nor are UK trade negotiators likely to have the qualifications to decide such important food standards on our behalf, which will impact on our well-being and the health of our children.

"Such decisions must be put before British people, health specialists, scientific scrutiny and our elected representatives, for proper examination. These are the kinds of decisions that no-one who cares about the food they eat will accept being decided behind closed doors.

"Our concerns about US food standards relate to (but are not limited to) meat hygiene, farm antibiotic use, irradiated meat, ‘pink slime’ beef production, animal welfare, pesticides, the prevalence of high fructose corn syrup in US processed foods, colourings and additives, baby food standards, food labelling and a generally more litigious culture in the US food industry that is vocally resistant to public and scientific scrutiny.

"Dr Fox, please do not force US food standards on us, and ensure that future trade deals are open to proper scientific and parliamentary scrutiny – especially when it comes to our food."

Co-signed by

  • Kath Dalmeny, Chief Executive, Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming
  • Katharine Jenner, Campaign Director, Action on Sugar
  • Coílín Nunan, Scientific Advisor, Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics
  • Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, City University of London
  • Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive, Compassion in World Farming
  • Professor John Middleton, President, Faculty of Public Health
  • Professor Simon Capewell, Vice President, Faculty of Public Health
  • Dr Helen Crawley, Director, First Steps Nutrition Trust
  • Dr Tim Lobstein, Director, Food Information Trust
  • David Powell, Environment Lead, New Economics Foundation
  • Keith Tyrell, Director, Pesticides Action Network
  • Peter Melchett, Policy Director, Soil Association
  • Erik Millstone, Professor of Science Policy, University of Sussex

Read more about Sustain's work on Brexit at: www.sustainweb.org/brexit

Sam Coates