UK trade negotiators will not give in to Canadian demands that beef produced with artificial growth hormones be allowed onto the British market.

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, this week claimed to have secured a commitment from the UK International Trade Secretary that a continued ban on hormone-treated beef would be a 'red line' in UK-Canada trade negotiations.

The Secretary of State, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, made the commitment in response to a letter from Mr Carmichael which highlighted claims from Canadian negotiators that overturning the ban would be their goal during trade talks.

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In her letter, the Secretary of State said: “Maintaining our high standards and protecting the UK’s right to regulate is a red line in all our trade negotiations, as most recently outlined in the UK’s Strategic Approach to the UK-Canada negotiations. All imports into the UK must meet our stringent food safety standards, including the existing ban on hormone-treated beef.”

Mr Carmichael said: “I am glad that the Secretary of State has responded in no uncertain terms that hormone-treated beef will not be coming into the UK regardless of Canadian trade talks. This is not just a red line for the government but a red line for farmers and crofters – and indeed consumers – who do not want to see our food standards hollowed out.

“The minister really could not have been much clearer and so we have a right to hold her to her word. There can be no backtracking or reinterpretation of this commitment, no matter how much of a priority it may be for our Canadian partners. The government has not lived up to its past commitments to farmers and food producers during negotiations with Australia and New Zealand – they must raise their game now.”