UK trade secretary slams ‘obsession’ with chlorinated chicken in post-Brexit deal

The UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, has blasted the media for its “obsession” with chlorinated chicken when reporting on a potential deal with the US after Brexit.

Fox was in Washington for talks on a possible trade agreement between the US and the UK, when concerns arose over the country’s future food standards – which are feared would match US levels once the UK leaves the EU.

According to critics, chlorinated chicken can reduce hygiene standards in abattoirs because it can become the default decontaminant when washing chicken after it has been eviscerated.

As part of the deal, the UK could also begin importing GM foods and may be facing the introduction of meat that has been treated with synthetic hormones.

Fox, who has been challenged to eat chlorinated chicken on live TV, said: “In a debate which should be about how we make our contribution to global liberalisation and the increased prosperity of both the UK, the US and our trading partners … the British media is 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.”

Stating that UK consumers only trust domestically-produced chicken, the British Poultry Council rejected the idea that chlorinated chicken could be introduced to Britain as part of a trade deal with the US.

Urging the government to back British farming, the organisation said poultry meat was the only livestock sector capable of quickly scaling-up to support increased self-sufficiency in the UK.

Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said: “The UK Poultry meat industry stands committed to feeding the nation with nutritious food and any compromise on standards will not be tolerated.

“A secure post-Brexit deal must be about Britain’s future food security and safety. This is a matter of our reputation on the global stage.”