Environment secretary Theresa Villiers has sought to allay fears about UK food standards being undermined by imports as part of a US trade deal after Brexit.
Speaking to the BBC’s Countryfile programme, Villiers said current EU rules that ban the import of products produced to lower standards would be carried over.
Last week Villiers told the Oxford Farming Conference: “This is a government that will always back British farmers.
“Backing better standards is a core part of our Brexit policy,” Villers said. “I will continue to work with you Minette as these negotiations progress, and make sure your voice is heard. We will not imperil our domestic and international reputations. Our strong British brand is built on high standards to which we hold ourselves.”
Addressing directly concerns that a US trade deal could lead to imports of food that would be illegal to produce in the UK, Villers said: “We will not dilute our strong environmental protections, food safety and animal welfare. Even limited access to our markets is a big prize to aspire to. The government will defend our national interest strongly and will be prepared to walk away if that is in our national interest.”