Food will not be a deal breaker in post-Brexit trade, says US

US agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue said food science and not the science of fear should drive an agreement.

US trade deal
US trade deal

Food issues will not be a “deal breaker” in a post-Brexit trade agreement between Britain and America, the US agriculture secretary has said.

Sonny Perdue said the two counties needed to determine an agreement rooted in food science, not “the political science of fear”.

In the Brexit referendum campaign, some Remain supporters repeatedly raised the concern that leaving the EU would lead to a drop in food standards and could see US chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef arriving on the British market.

EU Beef
Cows on a farm (David Cheskin/PA)

Asked if he thought food issues could be a “deal breaker” in a future trade deal, Mr Perdue told reporters: “I don’t think we are thinking anything will be a deal breaker.

“We are looking to come together.

“Really like-minded people understanding that both of our economies benefit.

“Both the EU, the UK and the United States benefit when we have free and reciprocal trade, and that’s really what our objective is – is to come to a conclusion where we can accept one and others’ products freely based on sound scientific standards rather than inordinate fears.

“All we are asking from the United States is that we make sound food decisions for the future based on sound science that we can all agree upon rather than the political science of fear.

Climate change
A combine harvester in a field (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“I think we need to trade based on sound science and safety and health and nutrition.”

He added: “We are not asking Europe to lower standards.”

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