The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in co-operation are aiming to encourage British political leaders to protect farmers from food imports that fall below UK production standards.

They are calling for the establishment of a core standards commission to ensure imported food meets environmental and animal welfare benchmarks.

Safeguarding British farmers from substandard food imports, the NFU and WWF have issued a collective plea to political leaders. They urge the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats to include a manifesto commitment for the creation of a core standards commission.

This commission would assess the practicality and legal obligations necessary to ensure imported food aligns with the environmental and animal welfare standards advocated by UK farmers.

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As the UK Government continues to expand the nation’s agri-food import market globally, the NFU and WWF underline the urgency of establishing these core standards.

NFU president Tom Bradshaw highlighted the significance of this collaborative effort as it ‘represents the strength and breadth of feeling on this issue’.

He stressed: “It must meet the same production standards as asked of our farmers. It is what the British people expect and its time a system of core standards was properly established in UK law.

“A commission able to develop these core standards is the first real step to making core standards a workable reality.”

Echoing Mr Bradshaw’s views, WWF’s chief executive Tanya Steele stressed the importance of political commitment to establishing core standards. She stated: “Farmers and businesses would welcome this and there is clear support from the public to stop fuelling the destruction of nature.

“By setting core standards we would uphold our national climate and nature targets, reduce our contribution to the destruction of nature, and create a level playing field for UK farmers working hard to produce food to higher standards. There is no time to lose if we are to secure a resilient and nature-rich future for food and farming in the UK.”

The NFU’s food standards petition, recognised by over one million individuals, further stresses the public’s demand for action. It calls upon the government to ensure that all imported food meets the same production standards mandated for British producers.