Giles Hurley, Aldi UK’s CEO, said the supermarket “will never compromise” the standards of its products and vowed to only ever stock fresh chicken and beef from British farmers.
The commitment sits alongside Aldi’s existing policies to only sell British products across multiple categories, with 100 per cent of its core range of fresh meat, milk and eggs all coming from British farmers.
“Aldi is one of the biggest supporters of British suppliers and we want to make it clear that will always be the case,” Hurley said in a statement.
“We are a signatory to the NFU Back British Farming Charter and our entire core range of fresh meat and milk is from Red Tractor-approved farms in the UK. We will never compromise on the standards or specifications of our products, and that includes a commitment to never selling chlorinated chicken or hormone injected beef.”
He added that Britain has “some of the highest food quality standards in the world” and that Aldi’s commitment to only sourcing chicken and beef from this country means its customers know they are “always buying high quality”.
The announcement comes amid reports that products such as chlorinated chicken could be sold in the UK as a consequence of a trade deal with the US.
The Agriculture Bill, which represents the biggest reform of British farming since 1945, was put before MPs in the House of Commons on 13 May for the final time.
Farming groups have lobbied for the bill to include amendments that would protect British farming standards in any future trade deals, meaning that imports would have to be produced to at least the same environmental, animal welfare and food safety standards as those required from UK producers. However, the amendment was rejected.
A recent survey of more than 2,000 people, conducted by consumer group Which?, found that the majority (74 per cent) of British consumers are opposed to imports of lower quality food coming as part of a UK-US trade deal, while 95 per cent of respondents said it is important for the UK to keep its existing standards.
Sue Davies, head of consumer protection and food policy at Which?, said: “People in Britain - whether rich or poor - are absolutely united in their opposition to lowering food standards and allowing imports of products like chlorine-washed chicken or hormone-treated beef into our supermarkets, schools and hospitals.”
“Food standards in the UK must not be compromised by any trade deal that would betray decades of progress on food safety, quality and animal welfare,” she added.
Aldi is not the first supermarket to commit to not selling chlorinated chicken or hormone-treated beef.
Last month, James Bailey, executive director or Waitrose, backed calls to prevent the potential weakening of food standards in the UK.
“It would be simply wrong to maintain high standards at home yet import food from overseas that has been produced to lower standards,” he wrote in Waitrose’s Weekend Magazine. “We would be closing our eyes to a problem that exists in another part of the world and to animals who are out of our sight and our minds.
“We will never sell any Waitrose & Partners product that does not meet our own high standards.”
You can read more about chlorinated chicken, including how safe it is to eat, here.
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