2020-09-29 0:54

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Urgent Petition To Ban Sale Of Unsafe And Carcinogenic Food And Agriculture From The USA

Erik Millstone is an Professor of Science Policy at the University of Sussex. Since the mid-1970s he has been studying the causes and consequences of technological change in the agricultural and food sectors.

He started his petition in January 2019, warning that a post-Brexit Britain is at risk of seeing dangerous food on supermarket shelves including: “Chlorinated chicken, meat produced with high amounts of antibiotics and crops grown with illegal pesticides that are harmful to bees.”

Here he writes in an email to Change.org mailing list members, supporting his petition against lowering food safety standards by allowing US produce, including meat, dairy and agriculture; to be sold in the UK:

When we leave the EU there’s a serious risk of dangerous synthetic hormones in American beef entering our food supply. Shoppers could be left in the dark about the cancer-linked hormones seeping into our diet. This is why I’m calling on the government to officially commit to ensuring that the UK’s food standards are not weakened after Brexit - or raised even higher.

Pic: Cover of Food Safety briefing - click to downloadIn the USA, almost all beef cattle receive hormone supplements, implanted under their skin. There are six hormones used in the US and elsewhere that are banned in the EU for health reasons - including at least one that is judged to be a significant cancer risk.

I’ve spent decades researching and writing about food policy in the UK, and I co-authored a report  on the risks of hormone-treated beef post-Brexit. We found that there’s a serious risk the UK will lower our food standards to secure a trade deal with the USA - introducing an unnecessary and unacceptable risk to our public health.

It could also increase animal suffering by opening the door to high-intensity beef production systems that are associated with overcrowding, poor cattle handling and heat stress. Allowing hormone-reared beef could also mean that EU Member States would stop buying British beef as hormone-treated beef would remain unlawful there.

Regardless of what kind of Brexit deal we end up with - the British people deserve the highest food standards. So we want both the Environment Minister and the shadow Environment Minister to provide written statements committing to upholding current standards.

Leaving the EU must not mean that food standards decline and the British public are exposed to dangerous hormones. 

Please sign my petition calling on the government and opposition to make a long-term commitment to maintain, or raise, current food standards.

[The FRC Brexit Briefing report report is available from the Unionsafety E-Library]


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