Why is American Chlorinated Chicken So Harmful?

US minister wants chlorine chicken in the EU trade deal with the US

Brussels / Washington - The US negotiators want the chlorine chicken back in the menu of the new trade pact that the US wants to negotiate with the EU. The EU should accept the previously banned agricultural production methods in order to secure the deal recently promised by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Donald Trump, said Trump's Agriculture Minister Sonny Perdue after a meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan in Brussels.

According to the "Financial Times", EU and US negotiators have so far talked about liberalizing agricultural trade at a low level, for example reducing bureaucracy for US imports such as oysters or crustaceans or European apples and pears. But the EU must change its sanitary rules and attitude to break the US agricultural trade deficit with the Union. Import restrictions like this worsened his country's trade balance, Perdue said.

Reservations unfounded

Europeans' reservations about products such as chlorinated chicken and hormone meat lacked "solid scientific basis," said Perdue. In the USA, poultry are often treated with chlorine to kill pathogenic germs. Growth-promoting hormones are used particularly in cattle breeding. Both methods and the import of such products are prohibited in the EU. Fears that this could be softened with the transatlantic trade agreement TTIP had led to mass protests in 2015.

"Denigration" of US poultry production

Perdue lamented a "denigration" of US poultry production. In fact, the meat is not cleaned with chlorine at all: "It is essentially vinegar," and in no way unsafe, said the US Minister. Even with the hormone treatment of cattle, no adverse effects on food safety have been scientifically proven.

It's not just about apples, pears and shellfish, says Perdue, there are other things that are necessary. This shows the complexity of the matter and the negotiations of the trade deal with the USA that von der Leyen announced "within a few weeks" in Davos. The EU - fueled by the partial agreement between the USA and China - is eager to soften the transatlantic resentment with a deal.

So far, Brussels had pushed for an industrial agreement with the USA, and most recently there was also talk of an expansion to the areas of technology and energy. France in particular is vehemently against including agricultural products. The German Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) also said on Monday, "that we would like to keep the agricultural sector out of it".

Punitive tariffs threatened

US President Trump is a thorn in the side of the US's transatlantic trade deficit. For months he has therefore been threatening punitive tariffs on imports of European cars. His Agriculture Minister now cited the lifting of the bans on chlorinated chickens and hormone meat as examples of how the EU could remedy the situation.

The EU Commission did not issue an opinion. A commission spokesman had previously described the trade talks with Washington as an "ongoing process". "Soon" there will be a meeting between Trump and von der Leyen in the US capital. (red, AFP, January 28, 2020)