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UK not ready for Brexit's impact on food, report warns

Staff Writer |
The UK is unprepared for the most complex ever change to its food system, which will be required before Brexit, according to a new briefing paper published by SPRU, the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex.

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The report, by leading food policy specialists Professor Erik Millstone (University of Sussex), Professor Tim Lang (City, University of London) and Professor Terry Marsden (Cardiff University), concludes that leaving the European Union poses serious risks to consumer interests, public health, businesses and workers in the food sector.

Its authors claim that this is because there is no Government vision for UK food or agriculture, yet prices, quality, supply and the environment will all be adversely affected even with a 'soft' Brexit.

They warn that British consumers have not been informed about the "enormous" implications for their food, a third of which comes from within the European Union.

The 86-page report is the first major review of the ways leaving the EU will have an impact on UK food and farming.

Professor Millstone said: "In the EU, UK consumers and public health have benefited from EU-wide safety standards, without which there will be a risk of the UK having less safe and nutritious products."

Professor Lang said: "UK food security and sustainability are now at stake. A food system which has an estimated three to five days of stocks cannot just walk away from the EU, which provides us with 31 percent of our food. Anyone who thinks that this will be simple is ill-informed."

The report examines available industry and government data, policies and literature on a wide range of issues including production, farming, employment, quality, safety standards and the environment.

It highlights 16 key issues that must be addressed by the Government in its negotiations with the EU.


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