Any potential drop in imported food product standards will directly affect public health. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, for her wide-ranging perspective on food, and the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell, and the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, for their support. There is an issue with contaminants and food poisonings in other countries’ food products, and there are efforts from Downing Street on obesity. There is the issue of highly hazardous pesticides, as well as growth promoters and AMR concerns.
We feel that the TAC has an important public health role to play and will need expertise returned to its function to advise Parliament and Ministers on such matters and on future trade deals, or its importance will be severely diminished. The FSA is not expected to put great emphasis on production methods, and the environment and animal welfare impacts of production do not necessarily correlate with food safety issues. Neither are apparent on inspection of the final product. Advice needs the coherence of being a meaningful part of reports to Parliament by the Trade and Agriculture Commission, without further pressure being put on the already struggling FSA, which does not have the same transparency and accountability to Parliament.
I therefore wish to press my amendment to a vote.
Ayes 285, Noes 258.