Agricultural lobby group Farmers For Action (FFA) has warned farmers could take legal action should future UK trade deals undermine domestic food standards.

It comes as MPs voted on Monday (October 12) over an amendment to the Agriculture Bill made by the House of Lords to ensure trade deals would meet domestic animal welfare and food production standards.

The amendment was supported by those in the farming community but ultimately defeated by a majority of 53.

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‘Government failure’

Farmers For Action Northern Ireland co-ordinator William Taylor said: “Any government that gets away with lowering food standards is simply government failure.

“FFA is calling for political parties across the UK to hold Boris Johnson and his Government to account on Covid-19 action, food standards and climate change.

There could be a legal case to be had against the government creating trade agreements causing food ships to pass in the night with the same cargo bound for their opposite ports.

“For example, Northern Ireland has just got clearance for two abattoirs to ship beef to the US only to meet US ships coming the other way after January 1 with the same cargo all for corporate gain and consumers, farmers and the planet’s loss.

Let no government lecture us about climate change while being one of the biggest culprits themselves by creating unnecessary carbon footprints.

“The truth is we are self-sufficient in beef, lamb and dairy across these islands if you include the Republic of Ireland.

“Therefore, it would be a criminal cost to the environment to let the Johnson Government away with food swaps or surplus food import trade deals only to fuel further climate change for corporate profit.”

Taylor explained FFA was calling for the Government to adopt an ‘Isle of Man style’ approach to food security,  that domestic food production should be consumed locally before more is imported.

“Even then it should only be from the nearest source available,” he explained.

“It is up to us all to shout from the rooftops and the ballot box to make them listen on preventing and reversing climate change at every opportunity and above all not allowing them to lower food standards,” he added.