PROTESTORS have expressed their concern over the prospect of the country’s shops being “flooded” with sub-standard meat as a result of post-Brexit trade deals with the US.

Member of the Thirsk and Malton Green Party, along with local farmers, delivered a letter to the Old Malton office of MP Kevin Hollinrake on Saturday.

Barbara Hickman, on behalf of the group, said: “We are rightly proud that here in the UK we have a reputation for having some of the best animal welfare, environmental and food safety standards in the world.

“If we allowed in mass-produced chlorinated chicken and meat from cattle and pigs raised in terrible conditions and pumped full of antibiotics and artificial hormones, we would throw all that away.

“We would expose consumers to meat that has been banned in the EU, and many other countries, on animal welfare and public health grounds.

“Worse still, here in North Yorkshire we would be undermining traditional livestock farming so vital to our local economy and the fabric of our rural communities, with the real risk that many would be pushed out of business. It cannot be right for us to allow our farmers - many of whom are already suffering financially - to be undercut by a flood of unlabelled cheap imports produced in a way that would be illegal here in the UK.”

MPs rejected the latest attempt to require imported food to meet domestic legal standards from January 1.

They struck down a Lords amendment to the Agriculture Bill on Monday to force trade deals to meet UK animal welfare and food safety rules.

Mr Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, who voted against the amendment, said: “I do understand that there is a good deal of concern about this.

“To correct a common misconception, the EU itself does not ban food products on the basis of standards. It does, however, ban certain products such a chlorinated chicken and hormone-raised beef on safety grounds.

“These restrictions will automatically be transferred into UK law when the transition period ends on December 31.

“The EU stipulates minimum food standards in its trade deals and the UK will take a similar approach in its trade negotiations.

“The amendment changing the role and structure of the Trade and Agriculture Commission is unnecessary given the strength of membership, its broad representation and extensive remit.”

“Moreover, the UK will maintain a strong institutional framework for upholding the quality and safety of the food we import and consume through a range of government departments, agencies and bodies such as the Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and Health and Safety Executive.”