Long List of Little Things: Agriculture & Food

Geographically protected products threatened

Over 60 iconic British foods like Wensleydale Cheese and Cornish pasties would lose their Protected Designation of Origin status, meaning that cheaper, and possibly lower quality products could be sold in the UK under the same names – threatening both the British producers and the quality of the products

Farmers to take a bigger hit than thought through lost EU workers

Already in 2017, fruit and vegetables was left to rot in the fields as 4,300 casual vacancies went unfilled (12.5% of the required workforce) for fruit and vegetable pickers, leaving some produce unpicked or overripe and therefore not able to be sold at the best price, which impacted producers’ profits. The sector has warned that this will get worse . A particularly bad case will be a in Britain’s pig farm industry where experienced permanent and seasonal EU migrant workers are becoming harder and more expensive to recruit. This is happening already now due to the falling value of the pound after the referendum, and the feeling among EU workers that they less welcome. It is likely to get far worse if restrictions on free movement come in.

Shortage of official abattoir vets

Vets in abattoirs are responsible for the wellbeing and humane treatment of animals. Currently 95% are from overseas and the majority are EU citizens. The industry is very concerned that post Brexit up to a third will leave and it will become harder to recruit replacements. This will come at the same time as the requirement for official certification of meat exports is predicted to increase threefold if we leave the single market.

Australia is preparing to ask the UK to accept hormone-treated beef

Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, is hoping to secure a deal with Australia once Britain has left the European Union and informal discussions have been taking place for the past 18 months. But in return, Britain will be told to scrap a EU ban on the sale of meat from cattle treated with growth hormones — which can include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. The drugs boost production of growth-stimulating hormones that help the animal convert feed into muscle, fat, and other tissues more efficiently than they would naturally. The artificial plumping process boosts the amount of meat that farmers can sell per animal, putting more money into their pockets.