FOOD firms in the UK including McDonald’s are urging the government to toughen up rules designed to protect rainforests.

Ministers are planning a new law forbidding big firms to use produce from illegally deforested land.

But the firms say the law should apply to all deforestation, whether it’s legal or illegal.

That’s because the effect on the climate, and on nature, is the same if trees are felled legally or not.

The firms have written a letter to the government on the closing day of its consultation on forest protection.

It says: “Restricting action to illegal deforestation would not achieve halting the loss of natural ecosystems, especially when governments have discretion to decide what is legal.”

The 21 signatories include including Unilever, Tesco, Lidl, Nando’s, Nestle, the convenience food maker Greencore and the chicken producer Pilgrim’s Pride.

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