EXPOSED: The bugs in Labour’s Manifesto that lurk in the party's plan. Where do these beasties hide?' - Steven Barrett

Keir Starmer and mealworms

"The EU allows for all sorts of insects to be bred, ground up, and put in our food – without a warning label," says Steven Barrett

Getty/ PA
Steven  Barrett

By Steven Barrett

Published: 20/06/2024

- 12:57

Barrister Steven Barrett speaks about Labour's plans with EU food laws

Deep within the Labour party manifesto is this seemingly innocuous statement: “We will seek to negotiate a veterinary agreement to prevent unnecessary border checks and help tackle the cost of food”.

Because a veterinary agreement means we have to ‘dynamically align’ with EU food laws. Now there is a bit of a lazy assumption that all laws made in the EU must be good. It is, like lots of things in Britain, pure class snobbery.

The generation above me were new to foreign travel. And soon everything foreign became very glamorous. Now let’s not be too quick to just blame them, since the Norman invasion, the foreign Normans had all the money and the domestic Saxon’s were sneered at. So there is a long tradition of elites in England, loathing England.

But I think the tendency has intensified in recent years. It was lampooned in a sketch by Harry Enfield where a customer is outraged to be paying an inflate sum for a chocolate tart. But when Harry rearranges the letters to call it a Tarte Chocolate, the customer is delighted to pay the hefty sum.

The height of this phenomenon was the recent Hyundai decided it was clever to literally tell off the entire nation for how we pronounce its name.

Sadly, no doubt a proportion of those snobs who walk among us, were all too happy to be told off (and to then tell off others).

So the assumption that a law is good because it is from the EU is simple snobbery – which is prejudice. And the problem with prejudice is that it is irrational.

Like holding racist beliefs, it simply does not stand up to rational analysis, because at its heart, prejudice is not a rational belief. And this is where the creepy crawlies get in our food. Because the EU allows for all sorts of insects to be bred, ground up, and put in our food – without a warning label.

Last year they decided to allow ‘partially de-fatted cricket powder’.

Now what you think about that is your personal political opinion whether you like partially de-fatted cricket powder in your morning toast.

Indeed someone reading this may very well reply “actually I prefer full fat cricket powder”, and they’d have every right to do so. But Labour are planning to give your choice away. Based on the lazy prejudice that EU = Good.


    But if the majority of people don’t want crickets, lesser mealworms, yellow mealworms, banded or decorated crickets, bird grasshoppers, desert locusts, or black soldier flies (all of which the EU permits) in our food, then isn’t that our choice?

    And consider this EU food law. After BSE we all (us and them) banned feeding ground up animal carcasses to animals who we were going to eat. The EU, after we left, reversed this. So if Labour get in, we’ll be back to where we were, feeding farm animals to farm animals and hoping we don’t all die as a result.

    Now a counter to this is to say ‘but these products get here anyway’. Now that’s true, but it is still a choice (to have a weak border). The PM of Italy briefly banned these insects, but had to cave as it is an EU Member. We aren’t and if you don’t want these things, we can ban them.

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