CALLS have been made for the Welsh Government to safeguard farmers in the Vale of Clwyd from a controversial Bill.

The Agriculture bill - considered to be one of the most important piece of UK legislation in relation to food and farming for more than 70 years - is currently being debated by the House of Lords.

The bill passed a third reading in the Commons without a clause requiring that any agricultural or food product imported into the UK under a trade agreement be produced to animal health and welfare, plant health and environmental protection standards equivalent to those in the UK.

This has led to a reoccurance of fears of "chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-fed beef" being from the USA - which has different standards to the UK and EU - being sold in British supermarkets should peers pass the Bill without further changes.

Rhyl Journal:

Vale of Clwyd MS Ann Jones

Vale of Clwyd MS Ann Jones said:"I am seeking assurances from the Welsh Government that they will be doing all they can to avoid the effects of this UK Bill on our food supplies in Vale of Clwyd.”

"This Bill will have a damaging effect on the many farmers within the Vale of Clwyd, who I know have been feeling the effects during this pandemic but still maintained their food chain produce.

"I will be calling on supermarkets across the region to re double their efforts to supply local produce on their shelves to support the farmers.

"I have serious concerns that, to get a trade agreement with the USA we may be forced to import hormone treated beef, chlorine washed chicken and high levels of antibiotics in imported meats.

"This is not what the public want and I have been following up concerns from constituents that the Agricultural Bill passed by the UK government - and sadly supported by all North Wales Conservative MPs - will have disastrous consequences for food safety."

Rhyl Journal:

FUW president Glyn Roberts

While a majority of MPs have supported the Bill with relaxed standards, Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) President Glyn Roberts has welcomed the fact that members of the House of Lords across the political spectrum have echoed these concerns.

In a letter to members of the House of Lords, FUW President Glyn Roberts said “This has hugely angered farmers and consumers alike, not least given that the UK Government has committed to such a principle in numerous statements, and that maintaining UK standards and protecting consumers, farmers and food producers from sub-standard imports has cross-party support.

“It would be a sad indictment of the Brexit process and those who made numerous promises regarding protecting our markets and standards after the Withdrawal Period if the UK Parliament were to deliberately or inadvertently allow a lowering of current standards and instigate a ‘race to the bottom’ at a time when animal welfare, climate change, environmental and food safety issues are at the top of agendas across the globe.”

Mr Roberts also raised farmers and consumers’ concerns in a recent meeting with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary of State George Eustice, which he described as ‘positive’.

Speaking after the reading, Mr Roberts said: “We very much welcome the fact that our concerns were reflected in speeches from across the political spectrum as well as from independent members of the House of Lords.”