The TPP’s food safety language presumes that protecting consumers from unsafe food can be an “illegitimate trade barrier.” The TPP limits our government’s ability to establish strong food safety standards and makes it easier for foreign countries to successfully challenge food safety rules as trade barriers. The TPP could be used to challenge our domestic food safety laws and regulations, including border inspection, laboratory testing and standards on chemicals, additives and pesticides.
Trade deals like the TPP establish a yardstick to determine whether food safety standards are illegal trade barriers. The TPP has the most stringent food safety rules of any trade deal, making it easier to successfully challenge U.S. food safety oversight at foreign trade tribunals. The TPP only permits food safety standards that “facilitate and expand trade” — meaning that rules that interfere with the speedy shipment of suspicious or unsafe food could be called illegal trade barriers. These threats to U.S. food safety will come in several areas.