Toxic Trade compares existing UK pesticide standards with those of the US, Australia and India. The report highlights that Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with these countries pose a significant threat to consumer protection, as well as to human health and the environment. It provides a set of recommendations and specific language for use in developing FTAs so that pesticide standards are maintained.
While far from perfect, UK pesticide standards are some of the strongest in the world. However a key priority for the US in particular is to weaken these protections. If this happens there will be larger amounts of more toxic pesticides in UK food. Pesticides that the UK has banned for environmental reasons, such as bee-toxic neonicotinoids, also risk being reauthorised.
Not only would this be disastrous for British farmers who would be undermined by imports produced to poorer standards, it would also be extremely unpopular with the British public. Recent YouGov polling reveals that 79% of people are concerned about impacts to health if a future UK/US deal involved lowering our pesticide standards; and 77% are worried about negative impacts on the environment.
There has been much public uproar about the UK lowering its food standards via a trade deal with the US to accept ‘chlorinated-chicken’. However, the risks related to pesticides are equally significant and concerning and yet the issue remains largely unnoticed.
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