A petition calling on Government to put laws in place to prevent UK food standards being undermined by future imports has received more than one million signatures.
Launched in February by the NFU, the petition gained memento in May after an Agriculture Bill amendment which would have banned low standard food imports under future trade deals from entering the UK was defeated.
It has now reached more than one million signatures as the Bill passes through the House of Lords, and has prompted 80,000 people to contact their local MP about the issue.
NFU president, Minette Batters, said: “It has been overwhelming to see this volume of support.
"The fact that more than one million people have signed a petition urging the government to put into law rules that prevent food being imported to the UK which is produced in ways that would be illegal here is a clear signal of how passionate the British public feel about this issue."
“It is now clear that it is simply not credible for the government to continue to just pay lip service to this issue, when there is such public support for action," Ms Batters added.
"They must now give guarantees to the British people that they have listened to their concerns and will make firm commitments to address them."
“Trade policy is complicated, but what the public are telling us is quite simple. They care deeply about their food, where it comes from and how it is produced."
Celebrities have been quick to support the campaign, with chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver writing an open letter to the Prime Minister printed in the Mail on Sunday and TV presenter Jimmy Doherty writing an opinion piece in the Daily Mail on the subject.
While Farming Minister Victoria Prentis has rejected the NFU’s call for a Trade Commission to explore ways to protect food production standards in UK trade policy, Ms Batters confirmed the NFU would continue to lobby Government for one.
Ms Batters told Farmers Guardian: “Plenty of people within Government support the idea of a Trade Commission and we are working with Lord Don Curry to push for one to be established. I intend to keep going and make it happen.
“If we do not, then it is a real moral compass test of the House of Commons, and a pathway that has no genuine commitment to their original manifesto.”
She added these are decisions that will ’leave a legacy for decades and generations to come’ and warned we should not throw away access to ’safe, traceable, affordable and nutritious food produced to the highest standards’ in pursuit of free trade.
Readers can sign up to the NFU’s petition here