Farmers 'have nothing to fear from EU trade deal with US'
A TRADE deal between Europe and the US would not lead to lower food standards and Irish farmers have nothing to fear from it, the European Trade Commissioner has said.
Talks on a potential free trade agreement between the US and the EU were held this week at Dublin Castle as part of Ireland's EU presidency.
In an exclusive interview with the Irish Independent, Commissioner Karel de Gucht said: "I can be very affirmative that hormone beef will not be allowed into the EU. That legislation is not going to change."
He said the EU's approval process for GM foods would not change either.
He played down fears raised by the Irish Farmers' Association that any deal giving US farmers access to European markets would have negative consequences for Ireland.
"We are not going to sell our farmers to the Americans," Mr de Gucht promised. "We will duly defend you."
Europe's food safety image was undoubtedly damaged by the horse-meat scandal, he said.
He laid the blame for the scandal on national authorities – "who obviously did not check very well".