In June, a petition demanding the government to uphold the UK’s high food and farming standards in any Brexit trade deal, reached over 1 million signatures. The petition “calls on the UK Government to put into law rules that prevent food being imported to the UK which is produced in ways that would be illegal here.”

The NFU Food Standards petition which can be signed here: saw an increased profile in June due to its backing by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and TV presenter Jimmy Doherty.

The NFU petition sets out that “Our Government should ensure that all food eaten in the UK – whether in our homes, schools, hospitals, restaurants or from shops – is produced in a way that matches the high standards of production expected of UK farmers. Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of food security and traceability.” The President of the NFU Minette Batters added, “People do not want to see chlorinated chicken or hormone-fed beef on their supermarket shelves.”

FarmingUK reported growing fears that the government is prepared to abandon British food production methods in order to secure a lucrative trade agreement with the US.

Jimmy Doherty was published in a national newspaper saying,

“We currently have one of the safest food systems in the world, yet we are in danger of giving it up. If the US gets its way in trade talks, Britain will be importing chlorine-washed chicken, hormone-pumped beef, pork from pigs fed growth-promoters, and grain treated with a plethora of pesticides and insecticides that are banned in the UK. This makes a mockery of everything British farmers have been trying to do for the past 20 years.”

The fantastic response to the petition demonstrates that people care deeply about their food, where it comes from and how it’s produced. It shows that we want the same of all food which is imported here, so the food we eat is as safe, traceable and produced to high welfare and environmental standards. 

In an open letter for a national newspaper and in a video watched by over half a million people, Jamie Oliver comments that the issue is ‘really important’ to the public and their future health. He added that the Covid-19 crisis had made the British public ‘think a bit more’ about how food is produced and its impact on people’s health.