// New Waitrose MD calls for legislation against reduction in high food standards in the UK
// James Bailey says Waitrose will not sell any products that don’t meet retailer’s own standards
// Over 1m people sign National Farmers’ Union petition to stop imports of food produced to lower standards than those UK farmers abide by
Waitrose’s newly installed managing director James Bailey has joined calls for the government to protect food standards in post-Brexit trade deals.
Bailey said any reduction from the current high standards of food in the UK would be a backwards step, and pledged that Waitrose would not sell any products that don’t meet its own standards.
“Any regression from the standards we have pioneered for the last 30 years, both as a business and as a country, would be an unacceptable backwards step,” said Bailey in a letter to Waitrose customers.
“It would be simply wrong to maintain high standards at home yet import food from overseas that has been produced to lower standards,” said Bailey in a letter to Waitrose customers. We would be closing our eyes to a problem that exists in another part of the world and to animals who are out of our sight and our minds. I feel sure customers will share our view,” he said.
Bailey’s comments come after more than one million people signed a National Farmers’ Union petition calling for laws to prevent future trade deals leading to food imports that would be illegal to produce in the UK.
The petition aims to stop imports of certain foods, including chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef – produced to lower standards than those expected of UK farmers.
International Trade Secretary Elizabeth Truss told MPs last week that the UK’s high food standards will not be compromised by any new trade deals she strikes.