NFU media coverage: Food standards

October 2019

The NFU featured in coverage throughout the month focussed on the Government's announcement that 88% of goods entering the UK post-Brexit will not face import tariffs including:

The Guardian led with reports a warning from NFU President Minette Batters that eggs from battery hens will return to British supermarket shelves if the government fails to strike a new trading deal with the EU and crashes out of the bloc. The NFU is quoted saying the government has ignored its pleas to put tariffs on eggs to protect against cheaper rivals from countries such as the US where caging hens is allowed.

Country Life led with NFU President Minette Batters' comments that the decision to remove tariff protections for some agricultural sectors ‘severely undermined’ the farming industry, and risked the UK being ‘flooded’ with imports produced to lower standards that would be illegal for British farmers.

Express Online reported the Government’s announcement, quoting NFU President Minette Batters’ comments that farmers will feel betrayed by the decision and that egg, cereal and many dairy farmers, along with horticultural growers, would have “zero protection against cheap imports coming in from around the world.”

Nfu President Minette Batters was also quoted in The Times,  I newspaper, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Financial Times, and BBC News Online, saying farmers will feel abandoned and betrayed by plans not to impose tariffs on most goods entering the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and was interviewed as part of a package on a no-deal Brexit for the BBC 6 and 10 o clock news.

Nick von Westenholz was interviewed on Sky News Ian King Live and the talkRADIO breakfast show, reacting to news that the US could impose tariffs on EU agricultural products. He emphasised our concerns the turbulent nature of international trade given the uncertainty for farmers around Brexit.

Guy Smith BBC News_62086

28 June 2019

NFU President Minette Batters was interviewed by the Radio 4 PM programme (from 35 minutes) to discuss Henry Dimbleby's, co-founder of the restaurant chain Leon, planned review of the UK’s entire food system “from field to fork”. During the feature presenter Evan Davis made unfounded claims regarding UK farming’s animal welfare standards. Minette responded robustly to this, highlighting that animal welfare standards in the UK are world leading and farmers have recently welcomed the public onto their farms during Open Farm Sunday to showcase this. Since the broadcast the presenter acknowledge his false claims, and the NFU has written to the BBC calling for an apology. Click HERE to read the letter.

4 June 2019

During US President Donald Trump’s State visit to the UK, NFU President Minette Batters was featured on Sky News discussing food standards and how a future trade deal which allowed imports from the US, including chlorine washed chicken and hormone injected beef, would undercut British farmers and the high welfare standards in this country.

Minette Batters on Sky news - Trump visit and trade welfare standards_65357

BBC Radio 4 also featured Minette Batters where she again discussed the high standards of British food production and emphasised that by having a trade deal with the US which involved agriculture, we would be allowing food into this country which would be illegal for UK farmers to produce.

9 May 2019

The Daily Mirror and The Daily Express’ ‘Britain Talks’ series featured NFU Cymru Milk Board Vice Chairman Abi Reader, where she welcomed a vegan fashion blogger onto her farm. She is quoted saying that she is producing a product the public want to the highest standards that we know of today. After seeing Abi’s dairy unit the vegan blogger is surprised by the high level of care the cattle are given and the high standard of living conditions.

4 March 2019

NFU President Minette Batters’ reaction to the publication of the USA’s negotiating priorities for a future trade deal was quoted across the media. Minette appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, reaching around 7 million listeners, where she said we should not accept trade deals which allow food imports into this country which have been produced in ways which be illegal here. The Mail Online, ITV News, The Guardian, The Independent, iNews and the Metro also carried her reaction.

NFU Deputy President Guy Smith was interviewed over the weekend reacting to the US Ambassador Woody Johnson’s comments that Britain should embrace US farming methods. He was featured on BBC News Channel, BBC Evening News, LBC and BBC 5 Live where he reiterated that the high animal welfare standards of British produce should not be undermined.

NFU Dairy Board Chairman Michael Oakes appeared on TalkRadio discussing US farming methods. NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts spoke on BBC 5 Live commenting on Britain’s high food standards and future trade deals.

NFU member Will Dickinson spoke on ITV Evening News on Friday saying the Government has a duty to provide the public with food produced to high animal welfare standards, which British farmers adhere to. This was viewed by around 4.8 million people.

Will Dickinson_62087

Last edited on: 23:05:2019

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