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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Member of Parliament for York Outer

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Julian calls for tougher sentences on food fraudsters

September 9, 2014

Last night in Parliament, Julian called on the Government to do more to protect high quality British farming produce from fraud.

Speaking in the House of Commons during the late night Food Fraud debate, Mr Sturdy praised the recently published Elliott Report on food integrity. He said “It is reassuring that Professor Elliott has commended the British food industry so highly for providing one of the safest food supply markets in the world. It is, however, essential that we do not overlook the most effective way of ensuring the integrity and assuring the quality of our food: buying British produce. In the wake of the horsemeat scandal, it was clear that consumers want to see more British food on the shelves of supermarkets. Buying British food is important, because animal welfare in our country is second to none. Our farmers are rightly proud of their world-beating record, which sets us apart from other global producers. We must celebrate that. For me, that is a gold standard, which we have to maintain.

“The importance of farming to our economy should not be underestimated. Food production and farming contributes almost £100 billion to the British economy each year, employing almost 4 million people in the process. We must also take the necessary steps to safeguard our hard-won reputation of excellence, which could easily be jeopardised by rogue elements operating in an increasingly complex international marketplace. Professor Elliott rightly calls for a zero tolerance approach as one of the pillars of food integrity. I urge that tough sanctions be brought to bear on anyone who would not only jeopardise the health of British consumers, but cheapen the reputation of the agricultural industry, which farmers have worked so hard to rebuild after the scares of the 1990s”.

The Farming Minister George Eustice responded to Julian’s comments by saying “As my hon. Friend the Member for York Outer made very clear, food and drink manufacturing is important to this country. British food is renowned throughout the world for its quality, and our farming industry is world-renowned for our high animal welfare standards”.

The Minister went on to say “It is perhaps fitting to conclude where the hon. Member for York Outer ended his remarks, and with Professor Elliott’s conclusion that we have some of the safest food in the world. I completely agree with him that we should protect the reputation of our hard-working farmers.”