Food imports - email to our MP

E-mail to the local Weston-Super-Mare MP, John Penrose, sent on 15/05/2020:

Dear Mr Penrose

I rarely contact you, but following yesterdays Commons business in relation to the production and environmental standards of food that will be imported in the future, I am impelled to register my amazement and disappointment.  If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, surely it must be that obesity and type 2 diabetes are avoidable problems that impact the NHS and society more generally.  Logically, therefore, how can importing low standard cheap foodstuffs that often find their way into the highly processed diet of those most at risk to Covid-19 be defendable.  The lack of logic here is staggering.  This also seems to be a kick in the teeth for UK agriculture, who are obliged to produce food to high standards, and still compete in the world market, but now on a highly skewed playing field.  I understand from the press that the PM is taking up the issues of obesity and diabetes, so again where is the logic of allowing low standard food imports?  

My current lockdown reading is "Wilding" by Isabella Tree about the Knepp estate rewilding.  I can recommend this highly, as it is well written with excellent scientific support, and includes a fascinating description of living with a bad press!  The relevance of this is in the economics of agribusiness and its impacts on our own landscapes.  For many, the coronavirus lockdown has reportedly had a large and positive impact on reducing household food wastage.  In rural areas, it has also encouraged contact with local food producers.  I would have hoped that the benefits of local food purchasing, reduced food miles and continuing high standard production would be things that would be encouraged post-coronavirus.  However, this will be threatened by cheap food imports.  I will not go into the adverse impacts of industrialised, low standard food production on ecology and sustainability, but the UK should NOT be condoning such methods by importing the fruits of such damaging practices.
Yours sincerely

Jon Marshall


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