Plans to ban imports of foie gras could be blocked during negotiations to strike a post Brexit trade deal between the UK and EU.
Many media outlets yesterday reported comments made by the environment secretary Michael Gove during a hearing with the House of Commons environmental audit committee.
According to Sky, he said: "It may be the case that the French government, on behalf of its farmers, would feel that any free trade agreement between the UK and EU that imposed restrictions on foie gras would be one with which they could not live. But these are ultimately matters for negotiation."
Gove had reportedly “raised hopes” amongst campaigners that a ban on the product would be possible following Brexit. A ban has also been proposed by Labour as part of its animal welfare policy, published in February.
Gove maintained that he still wanted the UK to have “higher standards than we do at the moment”.
In January, at the Oxford Farming Conference, he said that it would “foolish” to lower animal welfare or environmental standards in trade deals – it would “undercut our own reputation for quality”, he said.
However, his warning on foie gras will have some wondering what other concessions the government might need to make as it looks beyond the EU for new trade deals. There is already reportedly tension between Gove’s team at DEFRA and the Treasury over the powers that will be available to the new environmental protection body.