Dear Prime Minister: We Must Not Trade Away Our Children’s Futures.
Dear Prime Minister,
We’ve known for generations that good food is the backbone of good health. But the pandemic has raised the stakes. Now, more than ever, we need to make sure everyone has access to affordable, good quality and sustainable food to help people be healthier, happier and more resilient.
The UK is at a crossroads that will affect what we eat for generations to come. The trade deals we’re currently negotiating with countries across the world will determine what ends up on our supermarket shelves and in our shopping baskets. If we don’t get this right, progress made as a result of your government’s obesity and health strategy could be wiped out.
We all want trade - but let’s not enter a race to the bottom and allow low quality products to flood the UK. Chlorinated chicken will be just the tip of the iceberg. We’re talking about meat produced with growth hormones and high amounts of antibiotics, crops grown with illegal pesticides that are harmful to bees, and a flood of sugary and ultra-processed products, promoted with massive marketing spends and without clear labelling to tell us what we’re really eating.
We must not lose control of what ends up on the plates of British children. If we get this wrong the impact on their health will be profound. It will be the most vulnerable in our communities who will suffer the most. Bad trade deals will also have a worrying impact on the environment and on animal welfare. Two things that the British public cares deeply about.
The UK has a fantastic opportunity to set out our stall as Brand Britain, standing for high quality food that is produced to high animal welfare and sustainability standards. Producing exports that resonate all over the world.
Over 1 million people have already signed the petition to #SaveOurStandards. In response, the Government has launched a new Trade and Agriculture Commission. But it lacks teeth, will only last 6 months, and worryingly doesn’t include people who understand child health, environmental issues, or animal welfare.
We want to ensure environmental, animal welfare and food safety standards are enshrined in law and upheld in all UK produced and imported products. We want to see a strong Trade and Agriculture Commission that can offer genuine checks and balances, with a broader membership including public health and environmental voices. And we want to see the government implement plans to reduce child obesity quickly, including having clear nutrition labels on all products and restrictions on junk food advertising.
Let us build a healthier Britain. We must not trade away our children’s futures.
Tasha Mhakayakora, Bite Back 2030
Cyrus Todiwala OBE
Guy’s and St Thomas’s Charity
National Farmers Union
Bite Back 2030
The Wildlife Trusts
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)
The British Dietetic Association
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland