Post-Brexit US trade deal: Chlorinated chicken could be the tip of the iceberg, warns UK union

Chlorinated chicken, as part of a post-Brexit free trade deal with the US, is “the thin end of the wedge” that could impact public health and threaten thousands of jobs in the UK food processing industry. This is according to Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union. Unite called on the government last week to give a clear statement that it will not “sellout” the estimated 450,000 workers directly employed by the UK food industry in any free trade deal with US President Trump.

The call from Unite, which has thousands of members working in the food processing and agriculture sectors, follows an interview with Zippy Duvall, Head of the American Farm Bureau, who said a deal on chlorinated chicken will be an essential part of any transatlantic trade agreement. This debate has previously ruffled feathers between the nations, after Ambassador to Britain, Woody Johnson, wrote about the negotiation of a future trade deal in a leading UK newspaper in March.

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Washing chicken with chlorine has been banned in the EU since 1997, due to food safety concerns. The EU’s issue is not the consumption of chlorine itself, but that such a practice could mask poor hygiene standards, such as dirty abattoirs.

Unite is demanding answers from the government and we want a clear statement from Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, that she will not sell out our food workers in any deal with Trump.We also have concerns that some Trump backers in the US have their eyes on the UK meat processing industry.

says Bev Clarkson, Unite National Officer for Food, Drink and Agriculture.

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