Honey news from Devon (& elsewhere)

UK pesticide standards could be slashed in new trade deals, threatening public health and the environment

"UK consumers are likely to be exposed to larger amounts of more toxic chemicals in their food if trade negotiators from the US have their way, warns a new report out.  The warning comes alongside new YouGov polling which reveals that almost three quarters (71%) of the British public want the UK Government to resist US attempts to overturn bans on pesticides, even if this means the “best” trade deal cannot be reached. 

Authored by Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK), Sustain and trade expert Dr Emily Lydgate, Toxic Trade highlights that a rise in exposure to hazardous chemicals could be unavoidable for UK consumers because pesticides are not mentioned on food labels.

While far from perfect, the UK currently has some of the most stringent pesticide regulations in the world, meaning that many agricultural products produced elsewhere can’t be sold here.  However, concern is mounting that in the wake of the UK’s exit from the EU, trade deals currently under negotiation with the USA, and planned imminently for Australia and India, will drive down UK pesticide standards.  This not only risks damaging public health but also the environment as trade negotiators push the UK government to allow currently banned hazardous pesticides to be used in UK farms and gardens.

The YouGov poll reveals high levels of concern among consumers, with 71% of those surveyed concerned that a US trade deal will mean larger amounts of pesticides in their food; 79% concerned about impacts to health if UK Government caves to US pressure to lower pesticide standards; and 77% worried about negative impacts on the environment.

Vicki Hird, at Sustain said:

“In an already uncertain economic climate, the lowering of pesticide standards could be catastrophic for UK farming as well as the environment. If UK farmers are forced into using pesticides in order to compete with a flood of cheap food imports then their exports will no longer meet EU standards and they’ll lose one of their key markets. 60% of UK agricultural exports currently go to the EU so this could finish off many farming businesses.”

Thanks to Sustain web site for this very interesting & important piece of news.