Brexit is delayed, producers worry over food quality
An extension granted by the EU is pushing Bexit deadline to 12 April or 22 May, depending on the vote that the British parliament will give on the Withdrawal Agreement next week. "EU27 responds to UK requests in a positive spirit and:
- agrees to Art. 50 extension until 22 May if the Withdrawal Agreement approved next week;
- if not agreed next week then extension until 12 April;
- approves ‘Strasbourg Agreement’ ;
- continues no-deal preparations,", tweeted EU Council President Donald Tusk. Nevertheless, the possibility fo a no-deal scenario still persist, with unions and associations representing food producers warning about the hidden risks masked by a hard Brexit.
"Continuity of British food production and supply will be critical to ensuring that British food, and the quality it represents, stays affordable and available for all. A dignified food system means that everyone has access to the same choice of safe, wholesome, and nutritious produce; yet Brexit threatens to create a two-tier food system based on affluence", British Poultry Council, Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said in a statement. He also called on the government to:
- Ensure British poultry meat businesses have access to non-UK labour, and support development of skills, to enable us to carry on producing high-quality food to world-leading standards;
- Facilitate easy movement of poultry products, in order to maintain a secure supply of safe, nutritious and affordable British food, grown to high standards from farm to fork;
- Maintain British food production standards as an integral part of the food system and protect them from dilution in trade deals.
Earlier, National Farmers' Union President, Minette Batters warned about the possibility of opening the UK market to low quality food products. "Without the maintenance of tariff protections we would be in danger of opening up the UK to imported food which would be illegal to be produced here, produced at a lower cost because it may fail to meet the environmental and animal welfare standards which are legally required of our own farmers", she said.
Last week, the British Parliament rejected the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU but also the no-deal scenario without offering any other solution.
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