76 Chichester mothers write to MP about food safety fears

76 Chichester mothers have got together to write an open letter to MP, Gillian Keegan. The letter highlights their concerns about food safety and farming standards from 1st January 2021 and asks for current British standards to be made legally binding as a matter of urgency.

Start of a movement

The group hope that this will be the start of a movement led by families to ensure that our children are not exposed to dangerous food which is produced with little regard to animal welfare and the environment.

Gillian Keegan MP with her husband Michael
Gillian Keegan MP with her husband Michael (c)gilliankeegan.com

No politics

The letter is signed by mothers across the political spectrum and from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions. It is an issue that unites all families to back British farming and safeguard our children.

The letter

Dear Gillian Keegan,

We are writing to you as concerned mothers in your constituency who feel that we have a duty to our children to ensure the food that they eat is safely and humanely produced, with consideration given for the animals, the environment, the farmer and the consumer.

We were disappointed to hear that the opportunity to enshrine our high British standards of farming and food production into law was not taken up and that you yourself voted against the amendment of the Agriculture bill which would have done this.

As Channel 4 Dispatches highlighted, American farming standards are not as robust as those of the UK. In particular:

  • The amount and types of pesticides and insecticides found in American fruit and vegetables is considerably higher, and includes chemicals currently banned in the UK because of their risk to public health.
  • Beef is produced using growth hormones that have been shown to increase the risk of developing some cancers in consumers.
  • Pork is produced in inhumane conditions where sows can be kept in pens that they are unable to even turn around in their entire lives and likely will never see day light.
  • American pigs are administered Ractopamene to increase protein production and therefore profits, but is a chemical proven to be detrimental to human health and has been banned in the UK for over 20 years because of this.
  • The processing of meat is done to an inferior standard to that required by law in the UK. Again this is done to speed up the process and thereby increase profits. This means that bacteria like salmonella and E.coli that can kill the elderly or young or the ill is found in much higher quantities in meat purchased in supermarkets in America, compared with the meat sold in the UK.
  • American livestock is regularly administered with antibiotics to prevent infection as well as to treat illnesses which arise because of the poor standards in which they are kept. The rise of antibiotics in food is already leading to large scale antibiotic resistance in humans, a concern for the medical profession.

We fear that the failure to enshrine British farming and food standards into law will enable poorly produced and insanitary food to enter the UK market. This will put consumers at risk and create a two-tier system where those that are aware and can afford to buy better quality food will, but the poor and those unaware will be mislead into eating food that harms the health of their family, damages the environment and erodes the high welfare standards expected of our livestock.

For British farmers to be able to compete they will need to lower standards. We fear that possible deregulation in the area will shift the burden to consumer groups to provide evidence that food is unsafe, rather than making it mandatory as it is now for the farmers to prove that.

Families are currently under immense pressure to provide for their children and are having to find new ways to do this while facing redundancy and increased living costs. We want to know that when we buy food for our children, it is safe and produced to the standards that we currently enjoy. We believe that this is the right of all families, whatever their financial circumstances.

  • We live in a constituency where farming plays an important part.
  • We want to back British farming and British farming standards.
  • We want to know that when we buy fruit, vegetables, milk and meat in January that we are giving our children nourishing food that not food laced with bacteria, chemicals and antibiotics.
  • We want to know that the environment and animal welfare have both been taken care of.

We therefore ask you as our MP to ensure that people are put before profits and UK farming and welfare standards are made legally binding as a matter of urgency.

The letter was signed by:

Lucia Whalley, Carla O’Kane, Colleen Wiggans, Alice Purcell, Naomi Donohue, Caroline Sheppard, Catherine McNaughton, Deborah Hack, Louise Moore, Teresa Trust, Kathryn Fisher, Anna Moorby, Rachel Benson, Natalie Park, Jennie Swires-Hennessy, Charlotte Lavender, Megan Wood, Lisa Herniman, Emma Baker, Marine Maltby, Lindsay Adam, Yufen Chen, Genevieve Baldomero, Gina Craig, Sara Thornton-Smith, Elizabeth Lelliott, Maricar Medina, Kristie Maloney, Meera Jones, Laura Hayler, Lucy Legg-Willis, Lucy Webb, Rebekah Haddow, Jennifer Carter, Lizzie Peall, Stephanie Field, Nicola Beth Wales, Rachel Clausen, Hannah Warner, Claire Stratton, Laura Wilmot, Nicky Sheppard, Ellie Moorhouse, Elizabeth Ford, Coralie Abbot, Rebecca Lane, Laura Hepworth, Claire Bailey, Katy Tillyer, Laura Ashcroft, Lauren Hall, Marysia Govan, Polly Gotham, Kate McKenna, Stacey Barnes, Poppy Morris, Rachel Ellams, Lisa Fogden, Stacey Gorman,Caroline Borrer, Kate Berisford, Laura Eccott, Yahmah Picking, Lucy McDonald, Lisa Haigh, Anna Macken, Kerry Mardell, Anna Pope, Louise Tilley, Angela Oxley, Louise Elgin, Delphine Watts, Kathryn Boon, Lucy Stevens, Helen McCoy, Erum Jaffer.


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