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Food Standards in the UK Could Suffer in a Post-Brexit World

Food standards in the UK may suffer as a result of Brexit, a new report says, resulting in “seismic implications.” The Food Ethics Council said that Brexit is the catalyst for such concerns, noting that the country is so desperate to secure trade deals now that it will do so at “any cost.”

“There is a real possibility we will see a race to the bottom and lowering of food standards amid a desperate desire to secure trade deals,” Author Dan Crossley, executive director of the food council said, in a story written in the Guardian. “It is a depressing picture. People would be faced with lower standards and worse quality food in the supermarkets. Chlorine-washed chicken has been talked about already, but there are lots more examples that we would see.”

“We either have a race to the bottom or a race to the top … this really is crunch time,” Crossly said, in the Guardian piece.

“The impression you get is that the UK is desperate to strike these trade deals at any cost and the risk is that all these other considerations are swept away in the process and that would have huge implications for generations to come,” he continues. “It genuinely is this seismic moment there is so much at stake … we can not afford to get it wrong.”

The UK is mindful of how Brexit could impact food quality there. Its Environment secretary, the Guardian says, has called on it to become a world leader in terms of food sustainability and environmental stewardship.

“Leaving the EU provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to shape our farming industry so it works for the UK and helps our farmers grow more world-class food,” the UK environmental regulatory branch said. “We are determined to make a success of it, but we will not compromise on our high animal welfare or environmental standards, and we will always protect our proud and varied farming traditions.”

Along those lines, the UK-based supermarket chain Sainsbury has come to realize that its goal of halving consumer household food waste within five years is out-of-reach. It had launched a program in 2016 to do just that, which would also save consumers money and slash food waste by half.

The target is in synch the United Nations’ sustainable development, which wants to cut in half the per capita global food waste by 2030. The UN estimates that global food loss and waste causes about $940 billion a year in economic losses,  It is unfortunate, given that a third of the world’s food is wasted while one in nine people remain malnourished, the Guardian says.

In a separate story for Environmental Leader, we report that companies are saving $14 in operating costs for every $1 they invest in reducing food waste.

That is coming from The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste, which evaluated financial cost and benefit data for 1,200 sites across 700 companies in 17 countries. Companies, for example, are quantifying food waste as well as changing packages to extend shelf life.

The savings thus come from things like increasing the share of food that is sold to customers and introducing new product lines made from food that otherwise would have been lost or wasted, the report on reducing food loss said.

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