Cows grazing

Government makes welcome pledge on maintaining high food standards

Defra Secretary Theresa Villiers has said that chlorinated chicken and hormone treated beef would not be imported into the UK after Brexit, in a new commitment to high food standards. In an interview with Countryfile, to be broadcast fully on 26 January, the Secretary of State said: 

“We will not be importing chlorinated-chicken. We will not be importing hormone-treated beef. Both of those are illegal under EU law, which we are importing into our domestic system ... There are legal barriers to their import and those are going to stay in place.”

Ms Villiers' comments followed an encouraging commitment from Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State James Duddridge in a debate on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (8 January). In reflecting on an amendment that would introduce legally binding commitments to existing standards, Mr Duddridge stated: "the underlying point is that there will be no regression".

We welcome these new ministerial pledges, which we believe should be implemented for wider environmental standards - not just food. Greener UK is urging the government to make a legal commitment along these lines in forthcoming legislation.

In response to Ms Villiers comments, Sarah Williams of the Greener UK coalition said:

“It is great to see the Defra Secretary so adamant that these products will not be part of future trade deals. The best way for government to guarantee our current high standards is to provide legal commitments in forthcoming legislation and a more democratic approach to trade policy that gives the public a proper say.”


Sarah's comments were covered in an article on Business Green.