Donald Trump's ambassador urges Britain to ditch EU's 'traditionalist' food standards for post-Brexit trade deal

Posted On: 
2nd March 2019

Britain should drop the EU's outdated, "traditionalist approach" to farming if it wants to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States, Donald Trump's UK ambassador has declared.

Credit: 
PA

In comments that could increase pressure on Britain to lower food standards after Brexit, US ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegraph that the EU is a "museum of agriculture", adopting a dated, "traditionalist approach" to farming.

And he hit back at criticism of controversial US practices such as washing chickens with chlorine and feeding cows with growth hormones, describing the methods as helping to ensure food is "completely safe to eat".

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He said: "The EU approach prizes history and tradition over innovation and science.

"In the United States, we look at the bigger picture…it is not sustainable for the whole world to follow the EU’s ‘Museum of Agriculture’ approach.

"We have to look to the future of farming, not just the past."

He added: "It would be a genuine missed opportunity to buy into the idea that the EU’s traditionalist approach to agriculture is Britain’s only option for a quality and efficient agriculture sector moving forward.

"You now have the freedom to make your own choices about the way you farm and fish, the products you import, and the technology you utilize...together we could shape the agricultural revolution of the future."

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, Britain will still follow EU food safety standards for at least nine months, according to the Telegraph, with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) winning Cabinet committee clearance for this last week.

A government spokesman said: “It is natural that the US will have its own negotiating objectives just as we will have ours.

"Maintaining safety and public confidence in the food we eat is of the highest priority and we have been very clear that we will not lower food standards as part of a future free trade agreement."