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MSP accuses UK Government of failing to stand up for Highland food producers and urges north residents to sign NFU petition over USA trade deal


By Philip Murray

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LOW quality food imports from the USA would be "devastating" for Highland farmers and the UK government must abandon worrying trade deal concessions, a north MSP has warned.

Kate Forbes MSP
Kate Forbes MSP

Kate Forbes MSP has accused the UK government of failing to stand up for Highland farmers, after appearing to open the door to allow “chlorinated chicken” in Scottish supermarkets as trade agreement talks continue with the USA.

As part of discussions with President Trump’s administration, Westminster officials are reportedly considering watering down food standards to get a deal.

And Ms Forbes has warned that this could pave the way to chicken washed with chlorine and hormone-fed beef being imported to the Highlands and appearing on shelves.

As recently as this January, the UK government had told farmers “we will not be importing chlorinated chicken”, but last week Downing Street representatives refused to rule this out.

If the UK government gave it the green light, Ms Forbes said it would have a devastating impact on rural food producers in the Highlands and Islands.

The National Farmers’ Union has an online petition on the subject, which has already attracted more than 800,000 signatures.

Ms Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “The UK government should be standing up for farmers and crofters in the Highlands and Islands, not undermining them.

“I know many are deeply concerned at the prospect of the UK government opening the door to low quality imports such as chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef – that’s before we talk about all of the banned pesticides.

“Steamrolling ahead with such a trade deal would have disastrous consequences for our food producers in the Highlands and Islands.

“There are a lot of local producers in my constituency who work exceptionally hard to grow and sell quality produce. Instead of importing sub-standard food like chlorinated chicken, we should be doing everything we can to support them and buy locally.”

You can sign the NFU's petition by clicking here.

- What do you think of the issue? Let us know by emailing newsdesk@hnmedia.co.uk

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