A new report from campaign group Global Justice Now has recommended UK imports of ‘cheap, ultra-processed food’ be banned after Brexit.
The group, which previously fought to kill off the EU-US trade deal known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), has warned post-Brexit trade agreements could lead to an increase in the ‘availability, promotion and production’ of low-quality food which increases health risks.
Its report suggested the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was responsible for an increase in consumption of sugary drinks and high fructose corn syrup in Mexico and Canada, which have both seen obesity rates rise.
“These links have also been observed in Central America, Brazil, and the Pacific Islands,” the document reads.
“Lower-quality, calorie-rich, nutrient-poor food is hard-wired into the current approach to global trade. This has a huge impact on public health.”
As well as recommending a ban on the import of ‘cheap, ultra-processed food’ after Brexit, the Global Justice Now report also calls on Ministers to ensure trade agreements do not restrict Governments’ ability to support ‘local and small-scale’ food producers.
Other proposals include excluding public procurement from future trade deals and giving parliament more power to set a mandate for and monitor progress on any talks.
“For trade deals to be truly effective and achieve health for all, they firstly need to be transparent and democratic,” said the report.
“As part of increasing transparency and democratic input, all trade deals should be subject to a health impact assessment by an independent body with relevant expertise.
“Governments should be obligated to act on the findings of such health impact assessments to mitigate any risks to public health arising out of a trade deal.”