Sue Ferns, Prospect's senior deputy general secretary, responding to Michael Gove's speech to farmers in Oxford, said:
“The environment secretary talks a good game on environmental standards and food safety but without properly resourced regulators, able and qualified to carry out essential checks, his assurances are worthless.
“The government’s failure to properly support regulators such as the Animal and Plant Health Agency means that there will simply not be enough fully trained staff or infrastructure in place to carry out full safety checks on imported food products by March.
“The environment secretary may have had enough of experts, but the public rely on them to keep them safe. It is time for him to finally listen to the people who know what they are talking about and commit not only to fully legally enforceable regulations but also to properly resourced environmental and food regulators.”
Prospect is the main union representing vets and other inspectors in Defra and related government agencies.