Jamie Oliver has said he is worried over future trade deals with America and the impact they might have on Britain’s food standards – but admits he believes in democracy and that we should get on with Brexit.
The famously anti-Brexit chef revealed his concerns in a wide-ranging interview with The Times magazine today, saying he has concerns over hormone use in the US and the availability of genetically modified crops.
The 44-year-old, from Essex, is concerned such food stuffs may become more readily available if Britain is taken out of Europe, and said he will do his best to stop ‘our culture and standards’ being destroyed through new trade deals.
Oliver has previously labelled Brexit as one of the reasons behind his restaurant chain’s collapse earlier this year, which ended with the closure of 22 restaurants and 1,000 staff losing their jobs.
Oliver has previously labelled Brexit as one of the reasons behind his restaurant chain’s collapse earlier this year, which ended with the closure of 22 restaurants and 1,000 staff losing their jobs
Oliver has said he is worried over future trade deals with America (pictured, Boris Johnson and Donald Trump) and the impact they might have on Britain’s food standards
Revealing his concerns over Brexit, he said: ‘I think that hormone use and genetically modified crops are really not OK. Europe doesn’t have any of this.
‘We want to do business with America and I think as long as we can protect our standards we’re in a good place. If we’re just going to have all of our culture and standards destroyed in a race to the bottom, then I’ll do my best to stop that.’
Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump said talks about a ‘very substantial’ trade deal with the UK were underway. His comments came after a phone call with Boris Johnson on Friday – following which he said the new Prime Minister was great.
Oliver also revealed how arguments over Brexit had caused tension in his family, saying he had been brought up in ‘a very conservative, Thatcherite home’.
He added: ‘It is divisive and has split families and workplaces. My own family has been split over it. But I believe in democracy and I believe in moving on and we should get on with it.’
The overwhelming political focus of Brexit, he claims, has meant some issues have gone by the wayside. He claims he’s had no direct contact with Theresa May, but said some of her advisers had listened to him.
Ideas he wants implemented include a watershed on junk food advertisements from 9pm and compulsory calorie-labeling in restaurants. He would also like to see the sugar tax extended to milkshakes.
Oliver called rental costs, business rates and the cost of labour ‘our worst enemies’, adding that the business had not responded quickly enough to changes in the industry
His comments came as it was also revealed he lost a total of £25million of his own money to try to save his high street restaurant chain. The group, which included Jamie’s Italian, Barbecoa and Fifteen, collapsed into administration in May, making about 1,000 staff redundant.
In the end, insolvency specialists at KPMG closed 22 of the chef’s 25 restaurants after investment could not be secured to keep them trading.
Three outlets at Gatwick Airport – Jamie Oliver’s Diner, Jamie’s Italian and Jamie’s Coffee Lounge – were snapped up by food-to-go specialist SSP Group, saving 250 jobs.
In his interview with The Times, Oliver vowed never to ‘have the wool pulled over my eyes or suffer from a lack of clarity again’.
He called rental costs, business rates and the cost of labour ‘our worst enemies’, adding that the business had not responded quickly enough to changes in the industry.
At the time of his chain’s collapse senior market analyst Fiona Cincotta from Cityindex also noted the impact of Brexit
Three outlets at Gatwick Airport – Jamie Oliver’s Diner, Jamie’s Italian and Jamie’s Coffee Lounge – were snapped up by food-to-go specialist SSP Group, saving 250 jobs
Oliver, who shot to fame with a host of TV shows and cook books, has netted an estimated £240million since entering the public eye
She said: ‘The restaurant chain, which piggybacked on the fame of Naked Chef Jamie Oliver, has been struggling for years to keep the business model going in which the pasta dishes – most of Jamie’s Italian offering – were too expensive for mid-range dinning and not high end enough to compete in the more expensive end of the market.
‘Higher rent, rising food prices, uncertainty over Brexit and competition from smaller, more nimble outfits, have been eroding the company’s earnings over the last few years.
‘Although nobody in the company blamed Brexit for the situation it is telling that the Jamie Oliver franchise is alive and well abroad, operating 25 restaurants in other countries including Ireland.
‘The demise doesn’t leave much to celebrate, only room for questions about how it could have been done better.’
Oliver is due to talk more about the collapse of the restaurant chain and lift the lid on his personal life in a one-off documentary.
The Channel 4 programme, hosted by Davina McCall and called 20 Years Of The Naked Chef: Jamie Bares All, will cover the highs and lows of his life and his campaigning over the country’s food culture.