The Government has today announced the scope and membership of its proposed Trade and Agriculture Commission. It will be chaired by Tim Smith, Ex Tesco Technical Director and formerly of the Food Standards Agency and includes farmers unions, the British Retail Consortium, UK Hospitality and Food and Drink Federation.
It will last for six months, report to the Secretary of State for International Trade and submit an advisory report at the end of its work which will be presented to Parliament by the Department for International Trade.
Alarmingly, there are no consumer representatives, animal welfare experts or environmental NGOs.
Kath Dalmeny, chief executive of Sustain said:
"We're currently protected by bans on low standard food and unethical farming practices and the British public has made it abundantly clear they don't want that changed. But now they're being fobbed off with a temporary, toothless Trade Commission with no powers."
"This Commission is stacked with industry representatives and no serious health, environment or consumer champions. There is no guarantee that anyone will even listen to their recommendations."
"Government is conducting trade negotiations in secret and refuses to protect our food and farming standards in law. It says this Commission will report back in six months, which is after the first trade deals are due to be signed. This is not good enough - our food, farming and environmental standards are at stake."
The Commission was the brainchild of the National Farmers Union, and was accepted by Government after more than 1 million people signed the NFU’s petition calling on the government to protect food standards. If you are not convinced the Trade and Agriculture Commission will protect your food standards, you could sign the Which? petition to protect food standards here
This is what the government says is in the scope of the Commission.
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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.