Aldi is the latest supermarket to protect its customers by promising not to sell imported chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef.
Aldi UK’s CEO Giles Hurley reassured customers that the supermarket will only ever sell fresh chicken and beef from British farmers.
This is as a result of the Agriculture Bill which, if passed through parliament in its current state, will allow food to be imported from countries with lower farming and animal welfare standards.
Currently, 100% of Aldi’s core range of fresh meats, milk and eggs come from British farms. Despite being the UK’s lowest-priced supermarket Aldi UK’s CEO Giles Hurley explained that selling British meat was essential to supplying quality to Aldi’s customers. He said, “Britain has some of the highest food quality standards in the world, and our commitment to only source chicken and beef from this country means our customers know they are always buying high quality Aldi products at unbeatable value.”.
Waitrose too has vowed to maintain their current standards, whatever the outcome of The Agriculture Bill. In an open letter to customers Waitrose executive director James Bailey explained that “Whatever the future holds, we remain committed to the high food standards you expect”.
Waitrose will not sell meat from the US. All of the supermarket’s beef, chicken, pork, lamb, eggs and fresh milk is sourced from British farmers, with all of its lamb also to be British sourced by the summer of 2021.”
Other supermarkets too including Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s have pledged to not sell meat imported from the US.
Since the announcement of Brexit the National Farmers’ Union has been leading a campaign to ensure high British food standards are protected in future trade deals. Many high profile supporters, including Jimmy Doherty, Jamie Oliver and Delia Smith, urged their followers on social media to take action. The National Farmers’ Union petition, to put laws in place that would prevent the import of food that is produced in ways that are illegal in the UK, received over a million signatures.
In May the Agriculture Bill was presented to parliament without an amendment to uphold current British high standards. This was a surprise to many as the government’s election manifesto had pledged to uphold our high animal welfare and food standards. The bill is currently being deliberated in the House of Lords.
If the Agriculture Bill bill is passed without amendments then our current food and animal welfare standards could be undermined by food imports from abroad. For example, the legal requirements of farming in the United States are much lower than in the UK. In the US chicken can be washed in chlorine dioxide, a practice which has been banned in the UK since 1997. Imports of hormone-treated beef are currently restricted by EU legislation as they are considered to be a cancer risk. However, the passing of The Agriculture Bill without amendments will mean that beef treated with hormones can be imported into the UK market.
If trade deals are made with the US it would enable Chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef to be imported into the UK. This is potentially dangerous for both our health and for the UK farming industry.