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Food: Imports

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 62697, tabled on 22 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing a food standards commission to ensure that the standard of international food imports is equivalent to existing UK food standards.

Answered on

25 June 2020

Our manifesto is clear that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards. The EU Withdrawal Act will transfer all existing EU food safety provisions, including existing import requirements, onto the UK statute book.

We are already engaging with the agricultural sector as part of our trade discussions. We have not ruled out additional groups, and there is clear scope to review, re-task and reinforce what we have.

The Secretary of State regularly discusses a wide range of issues with Cabinet colleagues, and the Government will continue to work closely with the National Farmers’ Union and other relevant stakeholders across the food chain to understand the concerns about the impact of new trade deals. The Government has in place a range of stakeholder groups to feed into our policy development on trade. These include the Strategic Trade Advisory Group, the Agri-Food Expert Trade Advisory Group and various supply chain groups.

Defra has developed the UK Agricultural Market Monitoring Group, which allows officials in Defra and the Devolved Administrations to monitor UK agricultural markets, to share the latest stakeholder information and to provide warning of atypical market movements. It will help prepare the evidence base for the cause and possible range of interventions that may be needed in specific markets.

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