EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has said that Europe will not compromise its high standards for food and agricultural production "on the altar" of any trade agreement.

Europe has the highest standards in the world in agri-food and will make sure that these standards are protected in any future trade agreement, he said.

He questioned whether the British government would have to sacrifice its food standards in order to agree any new trade deal with the United States.

Mr Hogan said he wonders if British consumers would be prepared to accept hormone treated beef and genetically modified produce and lower quality standards.

The commissioner was addressing a Farmers' Journal conference on Navigating Global Trade at the RDS in Dublin.

Ireland needs to forge new alliances in Europe, he said, in order to protect the interests of Irish farmers and suggested that those new alliances could include the Dutch, the Danes and the French.

He said that he is going to be fearlessly on the side of farmers in the forthcoming negotiations on reforms of the Common Agriculture Policy.

A public consultation on the future of the CAP would be launched on 17 February, he added.

But he said those consultations would be complicated by the fact that it is not known what the EU budget for agriculture would be when the UK leaves because the UK's net contribution to the EU budget is in the region of €9 billion.