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November 27, 2020

UK coalition’s fear over Government food-standards pledge

A new UK coalition formed to check the Government's approach to food standards has issued a critical report related to future trade deals.

By Dean Best

A new UK coalition formed to check the Government’s approach to food standards on imported goods has warned of the risk to public health and the environment if sub-standard products are allowed into the country.

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The food and grocery sector thrived during the pandemic, largely due to the shutdown of the food service industry and the sector’s subsequent necessity, panic-induced bulk purchasing, and spending more time at home. The market has grown as a result of inflation. Consumer unwillingness to go out and socialize, and the reopening of several hospitality facilities, helped maintain the demand for groceries, particularly online, in 2021. As consumer behavior changes, we consume more food and drink at home, and inflation increases basket sizes. GlobalData predicts that the sector will continue to hold a higher share than had been predicted prior to the pandemic. This is true despite the fact that the food and grocery sector's share of overall retail will decline from its peak in 2020. This report will discuss market forecasts and key themes in the global food & grocery industry in 2022 and beyond. It covers:
  • Market drivers and inhibitors
  • Five-year forecasts and the impact of COVID-19
  • The performance of the online channel versus offline
  • Major trends in the market including rapid delivery, ambient retailing, supply chain disruption, and inflation
Assess developments within this sector to help your business thrive in 2022 and beyond.
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The Future British Standards Coalition (FBSC), set up in September by parties with a vested interest in ensuring the UK maintains its food-safety record in any trade deals established when it leaves the European Union for good next month, has suggested the doors are already open to letting in foods that do not meet strict standards.

In its Safeguarding Standards report published today (27 November), the FBSC suggested “UK ministers have given themselves significant powers to change the rules on food imports without parliamentary votes or proper scrutiny”. 

The FBSC, which is chaired by Sustain CEO Kath Dalmeny, added that as a consequence of those ministerial powers, “rules governing the use of hormones and food additives are now easier to change, while standards on the use of antibiotics in farming have already been deleted”.

And it insists the Government is resisting public pressure to commit into law measures that would maintain current food standards, raising concerns about the potential impact on public health, animal welfare and the environment in trade deals currently being negotiated. 

It pointed to a 2018 outbreak of a “super-resistant” strain of salmonella in the US which it claims was linked to the use of the Azithromycin antibiotic in cattle, and Australia’s use of pesticides with “direct links to long-term health damage, including birth defects, cancer and hormonal disruption”.

FBSC was also critical of the Government’s Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) – a temporary body recently established to advise ministers on trade policy – because it does not have to report directly to parliament and its members do not represent across-the-board interests.

“At the start of November, the UK government sought to allay fears around food imports: it pledged to make its new advisory Trade and Agriculture Commission a statutory body for at least three years, and committed to issuing a report to parliament on each new trade deal it negotiates,” the FBSC noted.

“While the FBSC welcomes an extended commission, it does not believe the current membership of the TAC – focused on farming and business – matches the Government’s original pledge to ‘ensure the voices of the public … are heard. “In the absence of commitments to high food import standards in primary legislation, the FBSC urges ministers to widen the TAC’s expertise and remit.”

Dalmeny at Sustain, the London-based environmental organisation promoting health and wellness and animal welfare, said: “UK consumers have consistently rejected the prospect of poorly produced food that hurts people, the planet and animals. The government needs to show the public it is listening and taking advice from a wide range of experts. 

“It should start by appointing a Trade and Agriculture Commission that reflects a proper range of expertise and ditching this behind closed doors approach to negotiating trade deals.”

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Free Report
img

What’s the forecast for the food and grocery industry?

The food and grocery sector thrived during the pandemic, largely due to the shutdown of the food service industry and the sector’s subsequent necessity, panic-induced bulk purchasing, and spending more time at home. The market has grown as a result of inflation. Consumer unwillingness to go out and socialize, and the reopening of several hospitality facilities, helped maintain the demand for groceries, particularly online, in 2021. As consumer behavior changes, we consume more food and drink at home, and inflation increases basket sizes. GlobalData predicts that the sector will continue to hold a higher share than had been predicted prior to the pandemic. This is true despite the fact that the food and grocery sector's share of overall retail will decline from its peak in 2020. This report will discuss market forecasts and key themes in the global food & grocery industry in 2022 and beyond. It covers:
  • Market drivers and inhibitors
  • Five-year forecasts and the impact of COVID-19
  • The performance of the online channel versus offline
  • Major trends in the market including rapid delivery, ambient retailing, supply chain disruption, and inflation
Assess developments within this sector to help your business thrive in 2022 and beyond.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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