This report from UK NGO Sustain examines how a proposed trade deal between the UK and Brazil - on which discussions are still only in the early stages - might increase harm caused by pesticides. Pesticide regulations have weakened since Bolsonaro took power in 2019, with harm to environmental or human health no longer informing whether a pesticide should be approved for use.
The concerns raised by the report are:
- Food imported from Brazil may have higher levels of pesticide residues; since some pesticides used in Brazil are currently banned in the UK, UK pesticide regulations might be weakened to allow more food imports from Brazil.
- British farmers may come under pressure to use higher levels of pesticides to compete with Brazilian production.
- A trade deal could see increased exports of meat and soy from Brazil, potentially driving ecosystem destruction in Brazil as well as harm to people, e.g. from exposure to pesticides in drinking water or from aerial spraying.
- A trade deal could undermine recent UK commitments on food standards and deforestation.
Read the full report, Toxic trade: how a trade deal threatens to increase pesticide-related harms in the UK and Brazil, here. See also the TABLE explainer Food systems and contributions to other environmental problems.