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Thousands of cattle penned in factory farms in squalid conditions are the hidden face of America's hamburger culture.
And the low-quality meat churned out of the gigantic feedlots could soon be on its way to the UK.
A post- Brexit trade deal with the US threatens to put meat from these chemical-packed corn-fed cows onto British menus.
A a powerful alliance of chefs, celebrities and charities is urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to block this sub-standard meat from flooding into Britain.
The Mirror reports chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, along with BBC Countryfile presenter Anita Rani and fitness guru Joe Wicks, have all added their signatures to an open letter asking the Government block this mass-produced meat from being imported into the UK.
They’ve joined the RSPB and RSPCA to demand assurances that "lower-standard" meat, such as hormone-fed beef and chlorinated washed chicken, will not be sold in British stores or restaurants.
A Commons debate, expected to take place in two weeks’ time, will determine whether the Trade and Agriculture Commission will be given the power to enforce high food standards.
The open letter asks the Government not to to not to “trade away our children’s futures” in the negotiations.
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The Mirror's Christopher Bucktin, who visited the farms, said: “Before they cast their vote, MPs would do well to stand at the edge of a giant feedlot in America’s cattle country, where calves born on feeder farms are delivered to the lots in their thousands to be fattened upon for several months before being shipped out for slaughter."
He describes how the animals in tightly-packed in pens stand all day in their own dung, and how visiting these meat factories is an horrific experience where the “stench hits you like a punch in the face and lingers in your car and on your clothing for days”.
Britain has some of the safest and most stringent food regulations in the world, but they could all be torn up in a bid to secure a trade deal with the US.
There are concerns that despite recent assurances by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, the UK will be forced to water down its food safety standards in order to get a trade deal over the line.
Which is why the open letter being delivered to Government to urge them not to mislead the public about food standards.
It reads: “Let’s not enter a race to the bottom and allow low quality products to flood the UK,” the signatories tell the Government.
“Chlorinated chicken will be just the tip of the iceberg. We’re talking about meat produced with growth hormones and high amounts of antibiotics, crops grown with illegal pesticides that are harmful to bees, and a flood of sugary and ultra-processed products, promoted with massive marketing spends and without clear labelling to tell us what we’re really eating.”
- Boris Johnson
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