The Brazilian meat scandal highlights the importance of the UK maintaining high food production standards in future trade deals, the National Farmers Union has warned.
Some of Brazil’s biggest meat processors are facing allegations that they have been selling rotten beef and poultry for years.
A number of the processing plants under investigation hold licences to export to the EU, although the UK’s Food Standards Agency has said there is no evidence that rotten meat has entered the UK.
The NFU said Britain has one of the safest and most traceable food systems of any country in the world and urged the government to ensure that future trade deals which involve importing food products from other countries, such as Brazil, do not undermine this.
“News that the world’s largest red meat exporter could be involved in exporting rotten meat shows how important it is to have a secure and safe source of food in the UK,” said NFU President Meurig Raymond.
Trade agreements with countries across the globe must be balanced with the same conditions applying to food imports and exports, said Raymond. “Protecting the standards adhered to by British farmers and the transparency across the supply chain is essential for the public who want to buy safe and traceable food,” he added.
Raymond noted that independent surveys show that 86% of shoppers want to buy more British food. “This demand can be met by Britain’s farmers. But any trade deal entered into post-Brexit must ensure farming can be profitable, competitive and productive,” he said.