Post-Brexit Food Safety Standards - Deregulation in the pursuit of trade deals increases public health risks

Post-Brexit Food Safety Standards - Deregulation in the pursuit of trade deals increases public health risks

Summary

Food trade appears to be the weak spot of the UK regarding the negotiation of trade deals. A globalized approach on trade deals also reveals the inevitable deregulation in the effort of striking deals with multiple trade partners. As the UK intends to diverge from EU rules and standards, it would need to find another country or trade bloc to which it can align, the most likely option being the US, with that option leaving UK consumers worse off.

Key Highlights

  • Although the UK government has vowed to maintain these food safety standards, its strategic approach in the pursuit of trade deals is effectively leading to the revision of those standards towards deregulation. Reaching a trade deal with the US appears to be the main incentive for that shift. A trade deal with the US can only lower food safety standards given that regulation is considered by US negotiators as a trade barrier. As a result, chlorinated chicken, hormone-treated beef, genetically-modified food, along with products with reduced labeling and additives or pesticides currently banned, are expected to be available in the UK.
  • As the UK has been reliant on food imports and the EU’s supply chain, maintaining the high quality of food based on EU food safety standards after departure from the EU has been seen as critical by the public. UK’s best chance for achieving sustainable food security after Brexit. A no deal withdrawal could adversely affect public health, consumer protection, animal welfare and environmental sustainability, as other countries begin to produce food for the UK to replace imports from the EU.
  • A “Canada-style” trade agreement that appears to be ideal for the UK to maintain a form of free trade relationship with the EU, seems far-fetched, especially when there is no intention of formally aligning standards. In fact, greater authority in post-Brexit legislation has been used by the UK government to deviate from EU provisions, creating loopholes and amends that most certainly lead to deregulation of food safety standards.
Scope
  • Understand how food trade is under threat
  • See the plans outlined for deregulation
  • learn how deregulation might dramatically change food production
Reasons to Buy
  • Why does is the UK considering deregulation?
  • What are the potential benefits?
  • What are the downsides?
  • What is the most likely outcome?


1. OVERVIEW
1.1. Catalyst
1.2. Summary
2. THE PUBLIC IS OPPOSED TO TRADE DEALS COMPROMISING UK’S FOOD QUALITY STANDARDS
2.1. UK consumers worried about post-Brexitfood safety standards
2.2. Public opinion is against sacrificing food standards to accommodate trade deals
3. PURSUING GLOBAL TRADE DEALS PUTS FOOD SAFETY STANDARDS AT RISK
3.1. UK’s food safety standards have been reliant on EU food supply chain
3.2. Food imports outside the EU can be a public health risk
3.2.1. Pesticide regulation in the US and the rest of the world is relaxed
3.2.2. Ractopamine use in animals has identified side effects
3.2.3. rBST (bovine somatotropin) potentially harmful for animals’ welfare and humans
3.2.4. Hormone-injected beef can be carcinogenic
3.2.5. Antibiotics use is more prevalent in the US and developing countries
3.2.6. Chicken litter use in the US can be dangerous for human and animal health
3.2.7. Chlorine-washing treatments leading to lower hygiene standards
3.2.8. Genetically-modified crops are widespread in the US
3.2.9. Harmful food additives
3.3. A trade deal with the US means adopting lower food safety standards
3.3.1. Relaxed labeling requirements a fundamental threat for consumers’ choice
3.4. A race to the bottom for food quality and the likely destruction of UK’s agriculture
4. A TRADE DEAL WITH THE EU IS SET TO BE FAR FROM IDEAL
4.1. A Canada-style trade deal is not feasible for the UK
4.2. A trade deal with the EU requires alignment of food standards
4.2.1. Post-Brexit legislation has already opened room for deviation from EU food safety standards
5. APPENDIX
5.1. Sources
5.2. Further reading
6. ASK THE ANALYST
7. ABOUT MARKETLINE
List of Figures
Figure 1: Origin of food consumed in the UK (2018)

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