“Begging you to believe me – you do not want to import US food standards”

We like to bring you Twitter threads which you might miss because you aren’t on Twitter! Here’s one from a reader in the USA ahead of Monday’s Agri Bill vote, responding to a UK reader’s thread. We’ve added her thread, too.

I’m an American, I lived in the US for 30 years and worked in food manufacturing and I am begging Brits to believe me when I say you do not want to import US food standards.

I can give examples. I worked at a leading independent, part employee owned cheese factory. We supplied the vast majority of own brand labeled cheese in the region, did contract work for kraft, etc. Cheese is slippery, especially when it first comes out of the brine…

Cheese fell on the floor. *All the time*. SOP was to pick it up, cut any visible dirt off, and put it on a cart to be taken up to the choline table and washed off. Then it would go right back on the line.

If one of the vat operators fucked up a batch of cheese & we couldn’t sell it, we’d pack curd into big plastic bins to rework. One time we had so much rework sitting in the coolers it went mouldy…

So our supervisor told us to take our trusty stainless steel shovels (those were cool) cut the mould off, sprayed mould inhibitor all over the remaining curd and shipped it to our processed cheese factory…

A sight glass on a vat broke so we had to quarantine half a day’s production. The metal detector wouldn’t catch it so the company hired an xray machine and put on an extra shift. There’s nothing more boring than staring at a B&W screen as cheese scrolls past, looking for shards.

The amount of times I knew of other workers falsifying records or faking tests because they just couldn’t keep up was unsettling. Or violating worker safety to get the work done. And by and large it was a responsible facility, by US standards.

Originally tweeted by survival saisons (@AMan4AllSaisons) on 09/10/2020.

And here is the other thread. Please note, there are a number of Labour Party images. West Country Bylines is not affiliated, connected or in any way linked to any political party The images are merely reproduced from the twitter thread.

MONDAY: #AgricultureBill is back in the Commons.

Most MPs are well-intentioned & #BackBritishFarming, but the truth is, unless standards are enshrined in law, there is a high probability risk farming will be undermined. .@Keir_Starmer understands this.

Liz Truss thinks it’s worth undermining our food, farming, animal welfare, countryside & Enviro standards to get trade deals, but has she weighed up the trade-offs? Trade deals gains are tiny compared to losses from trashing our standards —not just £ losses.

#SaveBritishFarming

Losses from trashing our food, farming & environmental standards are not limited to the 25-50% of British farms DEFRA expects to go bust.

There’ll also be massive costs to public health (those who suffer + the #NHS) from food produced by methods banned here.

#SaveBritishFarming

To take USA for example:
-animals are reared in ways we could consider cruel, and which are forbidden here #SowStalls
-animals are pumped full of antibiotics (contributing to antibiotic resistance in humans), estimated 3x UK use
-livestock given growth hormones

#SaveOurStandards

Chickens have to be washed in chlorine because farming standards in the USA —from the conditions eggs are laid in, to those chicks hatch in & chickens are reared in, until ready for slaughter— are much lower than ours.

Chlorination masks low #AnimalWelfare.
#SaveBritishFarming

Shanker Singham, an Anglo-US trade lawyer from the #Legatum #DisasterCapitalist stable, is Gove&Cummings’s guru on trade and, with an IEA colleague, has been appointed to the Commission to advise Truss on trade deal impact on standards – a fox in the hen coop.
#SaveBritishFarming

Singham claims chlorine-washed chicken is higher quality than UK chicken, but the evidence doesn’t bare this out.

Food poisoning is 8-10x greater in the US than in the UK.

Southampton Uni found that chlorine washes mask the presence of salmonella.

#SaveBritishFarming

It’s not just farms going bust, or increased costs to ourselves & #NHS from poor quality food (which won’t necessarily be cheaper, BTW), or the moral cost of UK consumers subsidising low animal welfare, there will also be a negative impact on our countryside.

#SaveBritishFarming

Our beautiful countryside doesn’t get that way by accident, or *nature* alone.

Our countryside is beautiful because farmers, who take care of 71% of the UK’s land, work hard to maintain our countryside, while producing high quality food for our plates.

#SaveBritishFarming

@Liztruss says undermine British farmers to allow more imports from farms in developing countries. This is disingenuous:
a)she’s only ever talked up FTAs with developed countries
b)47 developing countries lose EBA tariff/quota-free access to UK due to Brexit

#SaveBritishFarming

In economic terms, trade deal yield is paltry compared to costs of lower standards: farms going bust, health impacts + environmental damage. Returns range from 0% on NZ FTA to +0.07-0.16% GDP in 15yrs on US FTA. Meanwhile cost to #NHS more than wipe them out.
#SaveBritishFarming

Does #GlobalBritain = punishing UK farmers for all the hard work they’ve done to raise standards to world-beating levels, after the mad cow disease disaster, by undermining them thru trade deals that open UK to low-animal-welfare/ high-pollution-produced food?
#SaveBritishFarming

Also, could .@AlokSharma_RDG explain how undermining our #FarmToFork strategy of high standards sits with our environmental commitments, and particularly with our supposed leadership in these policies for #COP26 #Glasgow?

#COP26 rightly focuses on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, but we shouldn’t off-set environmental gains we make from this source with losses we incur by trashing our agricultural sector through the de facto subsidisation of lower standards thru FTAs.

#SaveBritishFarming

Besides public health hazards, harm to animals & environmental damage, there’s another compelling reason for MPs to enshrine our high food, farming, animal welfare, countryside & environmental standards in law:

It’s *the Will of the People*

#SaveBritishFarming #SaveOurStandards

If you’re still not convinced, imagine in your mind’s eye our green & pleasant land, with livestock dotted here & there, roaming free, munching on the verdant grass…

Then watch this clip of a typical US cattle farm. This is where lowering standards takes us. #SaveOurStandards

Yes, I know you’re cross that 53% of Farmers believed Brexit lies and that you saw VoteLeave signs up in their fields ‘cos the Remain campaign didn’t engage with farmers and issue them with signs, but write to your MP to stop this crap ending up on YOUR plate.

#SaveOurStandards

And yes, I also know that your MP might be a hopeless case, that you never get satisfactory answers from them — if they bother to answer at all.

BUT WRITE ANYWAY. The contents of their postbag matters, and even if they disagree with you, they take note.

#SaveOurStandards

If you want more info or evidence to back up the points you wish to make to your MP as to why it’s so important to YOU to save our food, farming, animal welfare, countryside & environmental standards, check out this .@WCountryBylines boxed-set of articles:

And if you made it this far and you’ve now resolved to write to your MP to #SaveOurStandards and/or #SaveBritishFarming

—THANK YOU 😊🚜🐄🐖🐑🐏🐔

Originally tweeted by KT Parker activist do-gooder 😇🧚‍♀️ (@lunaperla) on 09/10/2020.