Farming News - Jamie Oliver fears collapse in food standards after Brexit

Jamie Oliver fears collapse in food standards after Brexit

19 Jan 2017

Jamie Oliver has shared his fears that Brexit could lead to falling standards in Britain’s farm sector. He was speaking to Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington in Davos, Switzerland where rich and influential leaders are gathered for the World Economic Forum.

Jamie OliverThe celebrity chef said the EU wasn’t perfect, but praised its food standards as the “safest on the planet.” He highlighted Europe’s falling chemical burden and hostility to GM crops in the talk. The main fear he aired was of a trade deal with the US; President-elect Donald Trump has indicated that he is amenable to establishing a quick UK-US trade deal, but Oliver said this would leave the UK open to imports produced to lower standards, including hormone treated meat.

Speculating about the impacts of Brexit, Oliver said, “One of the scariest things is if we do a big trade agreement with America. We don't want a whole lot of their gear unless it's to our standards."

PM Theresa May has said that standards and laws currently set at the EU level will be transferred into UK law when Britain leaves the bloc, but experts, and Defra Secretary Andrea Leadsom herself, have said that around a third of environment legislation including EU Directives won’t be directly transferable into UK law. Prominent Brexiteers, including farming minister George Eustice, have often spoken about freeing farmers from “spirit crushing” regulations once Britain is out of the EU, leading environmentalists and trade unionists to speculate that this will translate into reduced protections for workers and nature.