Farming unions and opposition MPs have reacted with anger and dismay after the House of Commons rejected measures that would protect consumers and producers from sub-standard food imports.

MPs voted by 332 votes to 279 – a majority 53 – to reject the amendment to the Agricultural Bill which would have ensured food under any future trade deal would have to meet UK animal welfare and food safety rules.

Farmers Union of Wales president Glyn Roberts said: “This Government sacrificed our industry at the altar, paving the way for lower-quality food to come into this country, rather than standing by their manifesto commitments.

“We believe it was a grave error on their part to oppose the amendments in this way and once again their promises to look after our industry and protect consumers and producers alike are just empty words.”

Meanwhile NFU Cymru has vowed to continue lobbying for binding commitments to safeguard farming’s high standards in future trade deals.

NFU Cymru deputy president Aled Jones said: “NFU Cymru remains steadfast in its belief that Welsh farmers must not be undermined by imported products produced to lower standards than those observed here in the UK.

“This ongoing debate around food standards is matter of a huge importance for Britain’s farmers and Britain’s consumers, also. We simply cannot risk any trade scenario which could result in food imports coming into this country that would be illegal if produced here.”

Ceredigion MP Ben Lake joined the protests and urged UK Government to back Welsh farmers.

“This Government have long talked up the benefits of taking back control and of how, post-EU, we will be able to set the terms of our trade with the world," he said.

“Yet again, the UK Government has let down Welsh farmers when given the chance to protect their livelihoods. Despite all their promises and manifesto commitments, the Government defeated the amendments, exposing our farmers to unfair competition and lower production standards in future trade deals."

Local Liberal Democrats in Pembrokeshire were dismayed that Conservative MPs Simon Hart and Stephen Crabb voted against amendments to the Agriculture Bill which would have protected current Welsh food and animal welfare standards.

Alistair Cameron, Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, said:

“The amendments were introduced to protect food quality standards, environmental and animal welfare standards, and to ensure that our local farmers can continue to produce the high quality food for which they are rightly renowned. There is now a real threat of our food standards being undercut by future imports of low-quality, low-standard food in future trade deals.”