Australia is reportedly set to demand that Britain imports hormone-treated beef under a post-Brexit trade deal. Hormone-treated beef has been banned for years from all EU countries on safety grounds.
Reports suggest that Australian government ministers want the UK to lift the EU-wide ban on hormone beef when it leaves the EU, in exchange for a trade deal. They are understood to believe that the restriction, which is based on the precautionary principle, violates World Trade Organisation rules. The Australian meat industry is keen to regain access to UK markets that were lost when Britain joined the EU’s Common Market.
The disputed hormones can increase weight gain in cattle by more than 10 per cent a day, cutting down the time it takes to fatten an animal for market. But the EU claims that at least one of the hormones used is carcinogenic and their use has been banned since 1981. Australia and the United States) argue that the ban is unscientific and is in fact a form of protectionism.
Kath Dalmney, chief executive of Sustain, said:
“Our government is already conducting secret trade discussions which will have a dramatic impact on what we eat. It is unacceptable that this is happening behind closed doors. We want democratic trade negotiations that allow people and our parliament to have a say in trade negotiations. We mustn't drop our food standards for the sake of a quick trade deal.”
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Brexit: We stand at a cross-roads. When the UK leaves the European Union, will our leaders uphold good standards for our food, farming, fishing and trade deals? And will they agree a sensible deal with the EU? We need to make sure that they do!
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