Liam Fox says chlorinated chicken is safe, but forgets to mention why the EU banned it

Liam Fox says chlorinated chicken is safe

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said there are “no health reasons” for avoiding chlorine-washed chicken. This could be a display of his ignorance. Or it could be an attempt to brush the health risks under the carpet.

Fox says chlorine-washed chicken is safe

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has previously said that chlorinated chicken would never make its way to the UK. His position is at odds with Fox’s. Gove believes that to do so would “dilute our high food-safety standards”. Gove agrees with Fox that chlorinated chicken is “safe for human consumption”, but opposes imports due to animal welfare issues.

In trying to calm people’s worries about chlorinated chicken, the International Trade Secretary said:

Most of the salads in our supermarkets are rinsed in chlorinated water and in terms of reduction of campylobacter bacteria food poisoning, the United States actually has in general much lower levels of campylobacter food poisoning than many countries in Europe.

I have no objection to the British public being sold anything that is safe as long as they know what they are eating.

But is chlorine-washed chicken really safe?

EU ban

The process of washing chicken with chlorine isn’t dangerous in and of itself. In fact, a report published by the EU Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures found [pdf, p16] that chlorine can effectively remove foodborne pathogens. This is important. Consuming contaminated animal products makes us sick.

Read on...

However, the reason the EU banned chlorinated chicken is because relying on this chemical cleaning treatment “could lead to poorer hygiene standards overall”. And this is especially problematic when some chickens are not adequately cleaned using chlorine.

The US has less strict welfare regulations than we do in the UK. Some slaughterhouses in the US which use the chlorination process have extremely poor hygiene standards. Another health hazard involves the fact that chlorination can remove odours and surface slime; which means that chicken can appear fresh and safe to consume when it really isn’t.

Trade

There is a reason why the EU banned US imports of chicken. It’s a precautionary measure. But it seems that Fox is willing to risk public health for the sake of making a trade deal with the US.

Get Involved!

– Check out more articles from The Canary‘s Health section.

Join us, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

Featured image via Flickr

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed