The potential lowering of food standards post Brexit is an “insult” to local farmers, it’s been claimed.
MPs voted through a new Agriculture Bill last month, but a proposed amendment to require imported food to meet the UK’s current standards and World Trade Organisation standards was voted down.
South Holland and the Deepings MP Sir John Hayes rebelled against the Conservative government and voted in favour of maintaining current standards.
But the amendment was voted down by 328 MPs to 277.
Sir John did join all but one of the Conservative and DUP MPs in voting for the Bill itself which went through 360 to 211.
Chris Carter, the chair of the National Farmers’ Union’s South Holland branch, said: “We were hoping for more support for the amendment about the standards of products being different from the product standards we now deliver which we are very proud of and have taken many years to achieve.
“The whole idea of a lower standard of product being allowed to come in is an insult to most farmers.
“We don’t know how the trade negotiations are going to go post Brexit but there is a difference in the standard required between us and the United States for example.
“The feeling of the NFU is that our higher standard of produce should be protected post Brexit.
“In terms of food produce and the need to protect our markets I’m very proud of the exemplary standards that the vast majority of farms in this country meet.
“There are mistakes from time to time, but generally food from this country is as safe as it has ever been.
“Some people may say that importing food with lower standards will mean it’s cheaper and what’s wrong with that, but we’re proud of the standard of our food.
“Sir John should be commended for breaking ranks with the government and we’re very grateful for this support.”