Chlorinated chicken not ruled out by Tories in pursuit of trade deals

From The Guardian: Liam Fox, the trade secretary, has accused the media of being obsessed with safety concerns about chlorine-washed chicken being sold in Britain as part of a potential trade deal with the US after Brexit.

The controversy overshadowed the first day of Liam Fox’s trip to Washington, amid worries that a trade deal with America could lead to imports of food with lower safety standards.

Campaign groups, the poultry industry and opposition politicians called on Fox to come clean about whether the UK is prepared to lift its ban on chlorine-washed chicken in order to accommodate US poultry farmers who want to sell their meat in Britain.

But Fox said the issue was a mere detail in lengthy potential trade negotiations, and dismissed a question about whether he would personally eat a chlorine-washed chicken himself.

“The British media are obsessed with chlorine-washed chickens, a detail of the very end-stage of one sector of a potential free trade agreement. I say no more than that,” he said.

Earlier, a source close to Fox had told the Telegraph he believed that “Americans have been eating it perfectly safely for years” and that any meaningful trade deal with the US would have to include agriculture.

No 10 also repeatedly declined to answer questions about whether it could lift the ban on chlorine-washed chicken or guarantee there would be no reduction in food standards after Brexit.

The American farming industry is expected to push for agriculture to be included in any food deal, potentially opening the door for chlorine-washed chicken, hormone-fed beef and GM crops to be imported into the UK for the first time.

Washing poultry in chlorine is banned in the EU, with guidance suggesting the practice could lead to worsening of food standards. This is because abattoirs could rely on it as a decontaminant and the chemical washes could be used by unscrupulous producers to make meat appear fresher.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]