The variations in food and agriculture standards between the United Kingdom and Australia are rising as problems with concern within the coming free trade deal.
British farmers, environmentalists and customers worry imports from Australia will compromise the UK’s excessive animal welfare and food standards.
The variations vary from using hormones to pesticides and extra just lately, laws round farming strategies that deal with local weather change.
As the 2 nations get nearer to a deal, Charlotte Smith, who presents BBC program Farming Today, mentioned British farmers had been nervous about the approaching trade deal.
“That’s because there are more than 20 agricultural chemicals and certain farming practices, which are perfectly acceptable in Australia but are banned here.”
“I think the perception is that there are things that Australian farmers are allowed to do that British farmers are not allowed to do.”
So, what are the variations in food and agriculture standards and will a free trade deal compromise Britain’s food standards or see greater standards imposed on Australian exports?
Hormonal progress promotants (HGPs) are used broadly in Australia, whereas they’ve been banned within the EU and, subsequently the UK since 1998.
Around 40 per cent of cattle in Australia are given HGPs, which are used to speed up weight achieve, in line with Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)
A small implant is positioned below the pores and skin on the again of the ear, slowly releasing a low dose over 100 to 200 days.
Studies have proven that cattle handled with HGPs have an elevated weight achieve of between 10–30 per cent.
The European Commission considers hormone remedy as carcinogenic, posing a threat to human well being, however Australian authorities and different nations say the science would not again up that declare.
There are fears that the UK will reverse its commonplace on the observe on this trade deal and open the door to hormone-reared beef from different nations just like the US.
Australia at the moment exports some meat to the EU, by means of a system whereby farmers may be EU accredited as hormone-free.
But there are strict tips, with your complete farm’s grounds needing to be freed from HGP merchandise, handled animals and an annual audit takes place to keep up the standing.
The EU and Britain have banned or have stricter standards on a variety of pesticides that are generally utilized in Australian farming.
For instance, neonicotinoids used on Australian crops, together with cotton, canola, cereals, sunflower, potato, many vegetable crops and fruits, are banned within the UK and EU due to issues they trigger hurt to bees.
Professor Christine Parker from the University of Melbourne, an skilled on food regulation, mentioned the EU and the UK had a far more conservative strategy to pesticides than Australia.
“They call it the precautionary approach. So, they tend to prohibit pesticides in a precautionary way,” she mentioned.
But she mentioned the Australian regulators took a extra ‘threat regulation strategy’ and wanted a lot extra proof earlier than they prohibited a chemical.
In the UK pesticides are given a most licence of 15 years earlier than having to bear a evaluate course of, however in Australia, there isn’t any set time interval.
“Our pesticide regulatory authority is not as well resourced as theirs,” Professor Parker mentioned.
“We’ve actually got a whole list of pesticides that we’re supposed to be reviewing that we might be prohibiting, which we haven’t gotten around to looking at properly yet.”
Professor Parker mentioned one of many primary variations in animal welfare laws between the 2 nations was round intensively farmed livestock.
“In the EU and therefore, in the UK they outlawed battery cages and we haven’t done that yet, here in Australia,” she mentioned.
“And it’s a similar situation with pigs. They’ve got stricter rules.
“Their pigs, the sows, spend much less time in these stalls the place they’re simply completely confined than by the regulation within the Australian system.”
The UK banned sow stalls in 1999, while the Australian pork industry has undergone a voluntary phasing out of sow stalls in recent years.
Professor Parker said there were plenty of producers in Australia who did things to a higher standard.
“If Britain wished to require these standards to be met earlier than merchandise may go there, then there can be loads of producers in Australia who may meet the very best standards that Britain has.”
“It’s simply not the authorized commonplace in Australia.”
New agriculture and environmental legislation in the UK following Brexit will introduce a range of incentive measures for farmers to do more for the environment, including planting hedges, cutting pesticides and reducing antibiotic use.
BBC’s Charlotte Smith said while some were positive about the changes, others were concerned about how British farmers would be protected in trade deals.
“I feel some farmers are completely up for it,” she said.
“Others are saying, ‘Well hold on a minute, who’s going to be rising the food. Are we simply going to be counting on imports from Australia, America and the EU whereas we focus on rising hedges and planting bushes.'”
Ms Smith said the big fear was that farming was being disregarded in these big trade deals.
“Because these trade offers are far more about know-how firms, engineering and different sectors, which are larger for the UK economic system.”
But Professor Parker believed that any trade deal would more likely see a lifting of Australian standards than a lowering of the UK’s.
“I feel all of us had a little bit of an assumption that with Brexit, each Britain and the EU can be negotiating new trade offers with Australia and that the general influence can be to elevate our standards moderately than decrease their standards,” she said.
“It’s sort of fascinating that now the British farmers are having a panic assault and saying that it will drive down their standards.”
National Farmers Federation President Fiona Simson said the reality was any potential increase in Australian beef and sheep meat exports to the United Kingdom as an outcome of an enhanced trade partnership would be dependent on UK demand.
“The NFF continues to support Trade Minister Tehan and the Australian Government in the collaborative and productive negotiations with their UK counterparts as they strive towards securing a free trade agreement that is to the overall benefit of both parties.”
“The aim of any free trade agreement is to provide both parties options. Australian red meat producers would like to have the option to export to the UK if and when the UK needs it.”
Ms Simson mentioned Australia’s pink meat trade was main the world in investing in analysis and adopting provide chain practices geared toward chopping carbon emissions – with a goal to be carbon impartial by 2030.
#Note:- Author Name:- Jess Davis