Food Standards

In Suffolk we have excellent farmers, who are highly productive and do a great job protecting our local environment. It's important that the Bill rewards farmers such as ours that contribute so effectively, both to the food chain and also to the environment.

It is absolutely vital that in Suffolk we continue to have confidence in the food we eat. I therefore welcome the Government's very clear commitment that any future trade agreements must uphold the high levels of food safety, animal welfare standards, and environmental protection that we have in Suffolk.

It's worth noting that public consultations will be run ahead of any negotiations for new trade agreements, while any final agreement will be scrutinised and ratified by Parliament. These measures will ensure that both Parliament and the public can have their say on the content of any potential new trade agreements, including in the area of food standards. I am aware consultations have already taken place in the US, New Zealand and Australia, as well as with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

All that said, I am told that the Government is currently reflecting on concerns about the Bill raised during Committee Stage, as well as those raised by colleagues and those who have written to me on the subject.

It is vital that we remain committed to upholding our high food standards, ensuring we will all continue to have confidence in the food we eat. As things stand, I will be therefore be supporting amendments NC2 and NC4, seeking to ensure that we get an outcome that works for Suffolk and its farmers.