In the UK, chlorine-washed chicken has become a symbol of concern about the impact of the U.S. trade agreement
The "alarmism" about chlorinated chicken in the UK's agricultural and food industries and the general public must end, said the head of a trade commission set up by the country's government.
Tim Smith, former Tesco manager and head of the British Food Standards Agency, has been appointed chair of the UK Government's Trade and Agriculture Commission, which advises on the impact of the country's trade agreements on the agricultural and food sector.
In a comment The daily telegraphSmith, a non-executive director of Cranswick, a UK pork and poultry processor, said that "the country's arrival as an independent trading nation" after Brexit will always be accompanied by a solid public debate about where our food comes from and how it is made. "
"The decisions that this government is taking now will in part not only shape the future of British agriculture but the country as a whole. It is therefore only right that the voices of industry and the British public be heard. Our trade policy must be broad Comprehensive range There should be no reason why it cannot be reasonably and reasonably discussed, "Smith wrote.
However, he added: "The recent alarmism on issues such as the import of chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef, both of which are prohibited in the UK, is not doing the industry or the public a favor. They have a clear view of what what is fair and works for consumers, farmers, food producers and animals is important. This is a time for cool minds and thoughtful discussions. "
Last month, The daily telegraph British government ministers reportedly considered introducing products such as chlorinated chicken into British supermarkets, but would apply tariffs on them to protect UK-based farmers from competition, farmers' groups and activists.
Proponents of Brexit have argued that the UK's ability to conclude trade agreements independently outside the EU will lead to lower food prices in the country. Others fear an agreement with the United States, for example, that Britain may have to accept imports of products such as chlorine-washed chicken. There is also such concern among some who voted for Brexit, including conservative MEP Theresa Villiers, who as Environment Minister at the time said to farmers in January, "We won't import chlorinated chicken."
The practice of washing poultry in chlorine in parts of the U.S. supply chain has been cited by some UK food representatives as an example of the lower food standards in America that may need to be accepted in the event of a trade agreement between the two countries. The controversy over practice, the opponents argue, is less about washing itself than whether its use elsewhere in the chain indicates low hygiene standards.
In response to Smith 's statement, a Conservative MP, Simon Hoare, who opposed chlorinated US chicken from the United Kingdom tweeted: "It is not chlorine that is at stake, but animal welfare standards that are Use chlorine to make the chicken consumable. Better standards = no chlorine. "
Before the wrong counter narrative pulls on your pants, let's make this clear: it's not the chlorine that matters, but the animal welfare standards that require the use of chlorine to make the chicken consumable. Better standards = no chlorine https://t.co/oqHp1gGAgB
– Simon Hoare MP (@ Simon4NDorset) July 12, 2020
Experts in the US poultry industry have defended this practice, while according to the US National Chicken Council (NCC), chlorine is used in douches and sprays in less than 5% of US processing plants. Its use has also declined steadily, using other agents such as peracetic acid (PAA), cetyl pyridinium chloride (CPC), acidified sodium chlorite (ASC), organic acid rinses and bromine.
Last month, Robert Lighthizer, Donald Trump's leading trade negotiator, described the UK's opposition to the import of chlorinated chicken made in the United States as "thinly veiled protectionism."
Lighthizer said, "The United States has the best agriculture in the world. It has the safest and highest standards, and I think we shouldn't confuse science with consumer preferences."
A number of large supermarket chains in the UK have stated that they will not sell chlorine-washed chicken from the United States.
The new Trade and Agriculture Commission includes representatives from the agricultural, retail and UK food sectors.
George Eustice, the UK Environment Minister said: "We have been consistently clear that we will not compromise on our high environmental, animal welfare and food standards in all our trade negotiations. The Agriculture and Trade Commission will ensure that the UK's agricultural industry . " , our support for farmers and our commitment to high welfare standards are maintained. "
UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss added: "My officials and I work 24 hours a day to ensure that every trade deal we conclude is the best opportunity for British agriculture. We recognize the importance of working with agriculture and experts seek advice on why we set up the Commission. We put British agriculture first and give our producers the best opportunity to export their top quality food abroad and grow their businesses. "
Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers' Union, said the establishment of the Commission was "an extremely important development to ensure that British agriculture's high standards of animal welfare and environmental protection are not undermined in future trade agreements" .
She added: "The role of independent chairperson will be crucial and we look forward to working with him over the coming weeks to ensure that the Commission meets the expectations and ambitions of all consumers, activists and farmers in the the past few months have shown how important this problem is. "
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