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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

"Chlorine" Used as an Artificial Trade Barrier Against U.S. Chicken by U.K.


Over many decades, the European Union has demonized U.S. poultry as "chlorinated chicken".  The application of antibacterial sprays and immersion has become the focus of opposition to importation of U.S. product in a blatant move to protect the domestic U.K. industry.  Chlorination is a significant focus of contention in ongoing negotiations for a bilateral U.S.-U.K. trade agreement.


U.K. Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs analogous to the USDA has declared that there is no problem with use of chlorine as an antibacterial.  The concept of treating a chicken with a compound such as chlorine has been used by opponents of importation to reflect adversely and without justification that U.S. management, welfare and processing are in some way inferior to standards in the U.K. and that U.S. chicken would represent a risk to public health.


The National Chicken Council notes that chlorine rinses and sprays are used in five percent of plants in the U.S. having been supplanted by peracetic acid, cetylpyridinium chloride, organic acids or bromine with peracetic acid the predominant compound used.


If the U.K. Conservative government is seriously interested in a bilateral trade agreement, then they should marshal their scientific and in public relations resources and convey the true picture relating to efficient U.S. chicken production and counter misinformation and protectionist rhetoric.


It is ironic that Moy Park, one of the largest chicken producers in the U.K. is a subsidiary of Pilgrim's Pride Corp, a U.S. company controlled by JBS SA of Brazil.  Pilgrim's Pride would both benefit and be impacted by importation of U.S. poultry into the U.K. based on a free-market approach.


Given the cost of feed and labor, the efficiency of U.S. chicken production would place U.K. producers at a competitive disadvantage notwithstanding the differential in ocean transport.  Prime Minister Boris Johnston has proposed a tariff on U.S. chicken to eliminate the cost advantage for U.S. product in an attempt to placate domestic opposition. This would be contrary to a fair and equitable trade agreement.


CHICK-NEWS stands firm behind U.S. trade representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and his team in their efforts to negotiate an equitable agreement between our nations.  There are still many potential purchasers for status symbol Land Rover, Bentley and Jaguar vehicles who might not wish to pay a punitive tariff on their badges.

Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane