UK food and drink industry calls for EU free trade agreement

The House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee has said the Government should prioritise a free trade agreement with the EU to protect the UK food manufacturing industry and hundreds of thousands of British jobs.

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the committee, said: “The processed food and drinks industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, contributing £28.8 billion to our economy and employing hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country. British consumers are very discerning and rightly expect the highest food safety, animal welfare and environmental standards.”

Evidence submitted on the impact of Brexit on the processed food and drink sector demonstrated that EU food regulation “is widely appreciated as a positive force within the sector, through geographical indicators, high food standards, harmonised food labelling”. In its interviews for the report, the committee said that it found a unanimous view in rejecting any ‘race to the bottom’ as UK consumers would not tolerate lowering of standards.

Most respondents, said the committee, also supported the UK continuing its membership of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, The impact of Brexit on the processed food and drink sector

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