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Chlorine chicken must be on trade talks’ table, say US politicians

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NEARLY 50 US POLITICIANS have written to the country’s most senior trade representative calling for poultry to be included in any future deal signed with the UK.

Arkansas congressman Steve Womack, along with 46 colleagues, said “fair market access” for American poultry producers should be a priority in the upcoming trade talks between the US and UK.

Banned since 1997

Poultrymeat imports from the US to the EU have been banned since 1997 because of antimicrobial washes used in the American poultry industry.

But the letter says that Britain’s departure from the EU presents an opportunity to resolve “this unscientific ban once and for all”.

It argues that American poultry is safe, and that about 10% of processing plants use the contentious chlorine wash throughout production.

“As the second-largest exporter of chicken and largest exporter of turkey, the US sends poultry products to more than 120 countries around the world. Adding a new market like the UK will continue the momentum gained by opening markets like China and Japan to our poultry industry,” it explains.

‘Artificial trade barriers’

National Chicken Council president, Mike Brown, said: “Including U.S. chicken is critical in any new trade agreement with the U.K. – an agreement that should not be hampered by artificial trade barriers.”

The UK’s farm secretary George Eustice recently softened the government’s stance on American chicken, saying there was “room for a sensible discussion” as part of trade talks.

British farm authorities say it is not necessarily the spraying of chlorine on chicken that is the issue, rather the lack of welfare legislation and general farm hygiene measures.