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Plaid Cymru food standards warning because of American free trade agreement

Jill_Evans_web.jpg

Public health can’t be compromised for the bottom dollar

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has warned that free trade proposals between Europe and the USA could lead to lower food standards in Europe.

Negotiations about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnerships (TTIP) have seen American senators pushing for Europe to accept watered down food standards and remove European protected foods status rules to allow American producers to benefit.

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has opposed many parts of the free trade deal because they undermine core European Union rules on transparency and public health and safety.

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans said:

“In the European Parliament I have opposed the Transatlantic Trade Investment Package because it threatens core European Union rules, including the protection of public services, intellectual property, food safety, GMO safety, and health and environmental standards.

“In recent months, US senators have been writing to their negotiating team to attempt to water down the European protected status rules to benefit American producers.

“This protected status is to defend specialist, artisan, regional products against poor-quality copies - the exact opposite of what these US Senators are trying to do in the name of free-trade.

“They say that these are generic, everyday products in the US, and that American producers should be able to access European markets despite failing to meet the criteria.

“There have already been EU-US conflicts resulting from the EU banning imports of hormone treated beef and chlorine-washed chicken. TTIP could mean that the EU would be obliged to allow the import of both. Scrapping rules means lowering standards.

“As we saw with the horsemeat scandal, it is only through having joined-up protection and transparency that we can ensure quality throughout the system.

“With advantages to Wales of EU membership including laws on protecting the environment, data protection, public procurement, food safety, social and employment laws and much more in terms of consumer protection, we don’t want to find ourselves going backwards.

“I want to see a healthy population, eating healthy food in a healthy local food-producing economy. I don’t want to see us lowering standards.

“I would love to see more quality Welsh products get this valuable protected status, and I want to see more investment in the Welsh food and drink economy, creating jobs throughout the sector from production to consumption and every step in between.”

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