Receive our newsletter – data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. News
July 26, 2017

Michael Gove says no to chlorine-soaked chicken in US trade spat

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove has ruled imports of chlorine-soaked chicken will not be permitted into Britain from the US as part of post-Brexit negotiations, overriding his trade counterpart Liam Fox who's said to be ready to allow in shipments.

By Simon Harvey

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove has ruled imports of chlorine-soaked chicken will not be permitted into Britain from the US as part of post-Brexit negotiations, overriding his trade counterpart Liam Fox who’s said to be ready to allow in shipments.

Gove replied a blatant “no” when asked by the BBC’s Nick Robinson whether chlorine-washed chicken would be imported into the UK under trade agreements being negotiated with the US in Washington this week, headed by Fox. While chicken soaked in chlorine is allowed in the US and the practise has been deemed safe by the European Food Safety Authority, the European Union has banned such imports. 

Gove is opposed to the prospect amid fears British food safety standards will be downgraded. Weekend newspaper reports suggested there was a split in the government over the issue.

“No. I made it perfectly clear, and this is something on which all members of the government are agreed”, Gove told Robinson on BBC4’s Today programme. “We are not going to dilute our high food safety standards or our high environmental standards in pursuit of any trade deal”, he said.

The British Poultry Council has also rejected the proposal and stressed the importance of backing British farmers. Other concerns under a  potential trade deal with the US include the prospect of the UK allowing imports of hormone-fed beef and genetically-modified crops, which are permitted in the US.

“A secure post-Brexit deal must be about Britain’s future food security and safety”, Richard Griffiths, the CEO of the BPC, said in a statement. “This is a matter of our reputation on the global stage”, he said. 

Content from our partners
GMP: The food sector’s golden rules (and how they will evolve)
Cutting-edge innovation in fish packaging
Food fraud in the supply chain (and how to fix it)

The EU banned chicken soaked in chlorine amid criticism the US uses the process to hide poor hygiene at farms and abattoirs.

“There is no health issue with that – the European Union has said that is perfectly safe”, Fox said on the BBC’s Newsnight programme. “The issue lies around some of the secondary issues of animal welfare and it’s perfectly reasonable for people to raise that but it will come much further down the road”, he said.

Related Companies

NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly roundup of the latest news and analysis, sent every Friday. The industry's most comprehensive news and information delivered every other month.
I consent to GlobalData UK Limited collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
SUBSCRIBED

THANK YOU