Trump tells May to abandon 'unwarranted' food standards for Brexit trade deal

  • US Trade Representative publishes its “negotiating objectives” for a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.
  • Among the demands are that Britain drops “unwarranted barriers” to US goods entering Britain.
  • The sale of chlorinated and hormone-injected meat is currently banned in the UK.
  • Under US rules, producers are also allowed to include certain amounts of foreign bodies such as maggots, rat-hair and mould in a range in their food.

LONDON – Donald Trump’s administration has called on the UK to abandon its “unwarranted” food and agriculture standards before it can sign a free trade deal with the US after Brexit.

The US Trade Representative on Thursday published its “negotiating objectives” for a future trade deal with the UK once it has left the EU.

The document states that the UK must “remove expeditiously unwarranted barriers that block the export of U.S. food and agricultural products.”

It adds that “unjustified trade restrictions,” such as the ban on the sale of chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef in the UK, must be removed in order to “eliminate practices that unfairly decrease U.S. market access opportunities.”

BI highlighted last year that under US food regulation, producers are allowed certain amounts of foreign bodies such as maggots, rat-hair and mould in a range of food products sold to consumers.

In the US, producers adhere to a “Defect Levels Handbook,” which sets out the maximum number of foreign bodies like maggots, insect fragments and mould that can be in food products before they are put on the market.

For example, US producers are allowed to include up to 30 insect fragments in a 100-gram jar of peanut butter; as well as 11 rodent hairs in a 25-gram container of paprika; or 3 milligrams of mammalian excreta (typically rat or mouse excrement) per each pound of ginger.

Wilbur Ross, Trump’s Secretary of Commerce, has previously said that scrapping strict EU standards in areas like food hygiene and agriculture would be a “critical component” to any post-Brexit UK-US free trade deal.

The UK government has repeatedly denied that it plans to lower food standards one Britain has left the EU, with the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox last year describing reports to the contrary as “baseless” and “untrue”.

However, Business Insider revealed last year that Fox and Crawford Falconer, the UK’s chief trade negotiation adviser, have privately discussed rewriting UK food standards through the upcoming Trade Bill, using contentious “Henry VIII” powers.

Fox has also previously said that he had “no objection” to UK consumers eating food products which are currently banned by the EU, such as chlorine-washed chicken, after Britain leaves the EU.

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