Halloween quiz: US trade deal – trick or treat?

Halloween quiz: US trade deal – trick or treat?

By: Jane Herbstritt
Date: 29 October 2020
Campaigns: Trade

It’s the festival of Halloween, when people dress up in disguise, and things aren’t quite what they seem. An apt time to reveal the full horror of what lies beneath the surface of the prize US trade deal our Prime Minister Johnson has been negotiating with the US. 

The US President has promised us a ‘magnificent’ trade deal – but we are not convinced! A trade deal with the US will likely mean our food and chemical safety standards are lowered in order to allow US imports, and the powerful US pharmaceutical industry will be lobbying hard to ensure they get maximum profits from the medicines they hope to sell to the NHS …to name but a few of our concerns. 

Take our Halloween quiz to find out what gruesome food and nasty surprises might lie behind Boris’s prize trade deal.  

Question 1: Eye of newt and tail of rat… 

How many rat hairs do US food regulators allow in 25g of cinnamon?

a) none 

b) two 

c) seven 

d) eleven 

Question 2: Dunking for apples 

apple with Halloween lantern face

How many more times the level of the insecticide malathion can apples sold in the US contain, compared to apples sold in the UK?

a) the same level

b) 11 times,  

c) 400 times 

d) 1000 times 

Malathion has been linked to cancer and it can impair the respiratory system and cause confusion, headaches and weakness.

Question 3: Creepy faces 

green Halloween face

Over 1,300 toxic ingredients have been banned from use in cosmetics in the UK, with restrictions of another 500 ingredients. How many ingredients are banned in the US?

a) 1,300 

b) 642 

c) 11 

d) none 

Question 4: Poisonous products 

baby in cute Halloween costume

A recent test of baby foods in the US found that what percentage of baby food in the survey contained traces of arsenic?

a) 100% 

b) 51% 

c) 73% 

d) none 

Question 5: High price horrors 


The NHS spent £1.39bn on the 50 most expensive medicines used in primary care in 2018. How much does the Royal Society of Medicine calculate it would have had to spend if it had paid US prices?

a) same 

b) £2.78bn 

c) £4.53bn 

d) £6.42bn 


Question 1)

d) – Eleven rat hairs are allowed in 25g cinnamon 

Question 2)

c) – Apples sold in the US can contain 400 times the level of malathion allowed in the UK 

Question 3)

c) – Only eleven ingredients are specifically prohibited in cosmetics in the US 

Question 4)

c) – 73% of those surveyed. While the amounts may be small, the lack of tight regulation on US baby foods, and the certainty that sugar is often added to toddler snack food, should cause deep disquiet. See this article to find out more about what a US-UK trade deal might mean for our food

Question 5)

d) – The 50 most expensive medicines used by the NHS in primary care in 2018 would have cost £6.42bn – over £5bn more. 

Truly horrified? Take action to stop the deal! 

Photos: Rat and apple: Sasha the OK photographerJack O-lantern apple: F_AGreen Halloween face: SarahHalloween Baby photo: Jeremy Perez; Pills :Rodrigo SennaPumpkin protest: Global Justice Now