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  • Writer's pictureUNISON Food Members

Public fears a lowering of meat standards in future US trade deals, says UNISON

More than four fifths (81%) of the British public are worried about meat quality standards being relaxed by ministers in pursuit of trade deals with the US and the rest of the world, according to polling from UNISON/Savanta ComRes published today (Thursday).

Over half (52%) believe the government regulations for meat quality standards should be tightened following the UK’s departure from the EU. A third (34%) say the UK should maintain its current laws and just 3% say rules should be relaxed.

The poll of more than 2,000 people was commissioned amid concerns the government could agree to import chicken washed in chlorine or lactic acid in exchange for a US deal.

Poultry meat that’s undergone the process is currently banned in EU countries over concerns it masks poor hygiene standards.

Fewer than one in eight people (12%) say a relaxation of quality standards as a result of post-Brexit trade deals would give them no cause for concern. Both the British Poultry Council and the National Farmers’ Union have expressed fears about food standards being lowered.

The poll also found a majority of the British public would lose confidence in the safety of meat if the government were to privatise the regulation of the industry and ditch independent inspections by meat hygiene inspectors and vets employed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The FSA is proposing more meat inspections be carried out by workers at profit-making companies, in addition to its own staff.

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