Knowledge for better food systems

Hormone-treated beef: Should Britain accept it after Brexit?

In the latest of its Food Brexit Briefings, the Food Research Collaboration examines how UK food standards may be affected by post-Brexit trade deals - specifically, the case of hormone-treated beef, which is currently permitted in the United States but not in the European Union. The report points out that at least one of the hormones routinely used in US beef production is a cancer risk, and that there is not enough evidence to show that five other hormones are safe to use.

The report recommends that:

  • The UK government should keep food standards aligned with EU food standards, or strengthens them further
  • UK consumers should resist any moves to weaken food standards
  • UK food businesses should commit to avoiding beef treated with synthetic hormones
  • Researchers and NGOs should closely monitor policy in this area, and
  • The UK government should acknowledge that weakening of UK food standards could present difficulties for UK food businesses that want to export to the EU’s single market.

For more details, see here. See also the Foodsource building block What is food security? You can follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #FRCFoodBrexit.

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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