24th Feb


TFA Media Release – MR20/09 – MPs Must Amend the Agriculture Bill to Protect Standards in Trade

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) is calling upon MPs on the House of Commons Agriculture Bill Committee to secure an amendment to the Bill to guarantee standards in trade in food.

TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn, said “There is a united voice across industry, environmental, animal welfare and consumer interest groups that our high production and marketing standards in food must be protected by statute.  There has been much in the media on this issue over past days, with only the most ardent free-trade activists arguing against.  Whilst the Government is hiding behind the line that for now European standards have been incorporated into UK law, this can only be guaranteed until the end of our transition period with the EU in December of this year.  We need a long-lasting commitment which nails our standards into primary legislation.”

“Without a legislative commitment we will offshore environmental, animal welfare and social injustice whilst at the same time undermining the sustainability of high standard domestic production”, said Mr Dunn.

The Public Bill Committee of the House of Commons meets twice this week and twice next week to consider a line by line assessment of the new Bill.  It must take the opportunity of agreeing an amendment to the Bill to protect our high standards.

“This is not a Party-political issue, voices from all political Parties and persuasions have supported the call for legislation.  Legislative protection is also in line with Government policy.  A number of senior figures within Government have publicly stated a commitment to protecting our high standards in trade negotiations, but this can only be delivered within the World Trade Organisation framework if we have these standards written into our statute,” said Mr Dunn.

Whilst the preference would be for the Government to come forward with its own amendment to the Bill, two members of the Bill Committee (Simon Hoare MP and Luke Pollard MP) have tabled amendments, either of which would be sufficient to deliver what is required should the Bill Committee decide to vote them through.

“It is foolish to think that the retail and foodservice supply chains would ensure that consumers could make a choice on this matter through clear labelling.  Consumers are regularly duped through the use of fake farm brands, co-mingling of meat products from different countries but in similar packaging or the use of the word British to describe a style of cooking rather than the origin of the ingredients.  Nothing short of strong legislative standards will do,” said Mr Dunn.


Ref:  MR 20/09                                                                  Date: 24 February 2020

Notes for Editors:

For media enquiries contact Julia Meadows, TFA Communications and Events Co-ordinator on 0118 930 6130 or 07887 777157.

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