Brexit myth busted: NFU boss dismantles ‘misleading’ Remainer chlorinated chicken claim

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Chlorinated chicken will not be the main “challenge” faced by the UK in seeking a trade deal with the US, Tom Bradshaw, the Vice President of the National Farmers Union, told The practice of chlorine washing chicken is banned in the UK, but is common practice in the US poultry industry. Many people against Brexit used this as an example of why a trade deal with the US was not a positive of leaving the European Union.

Mr Bradshaw offered his own insight: “I think as long as we get the level playing field and a recognition that our standards have to be met by anything being imported then we’d be very very happy with a trade deal with the US.

“When we hear about the chlorination of chicken, I think the chlorination bit is actually slightly misleading.

“People think about chlorine, but actually the challenge with the US production system is that their chicken production uses five times the level of antibiotics that our production in the UK does.

“We’re really proud to have reduced our antibiotic use dramatically in UK farming.”

He continued: “Actually they don’t match that ambition in the US.

“So with ever-increasing antibiotic resistance, we really can be world leaders.

“We are world leaders in the UK, and why should we undermine that in a trade deal with the US?

“So we’re quite happy to do a trade deal with the US provided that our standards have to be met by anything being imported from the US.”

The farming union boss also stressed the importance of securing a trade deal with the EU before one with the US as it could make the EU “nervous” about the different standards for goods entering and exiting each country.

The deadline for an agreement to be negotiated with the EU is the end of December this year.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has already stated that completing a trade deal with the UK this calendar year would be “nearly impossible”.

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Talks aimed at striking a post-Brexit deal between the UK and the US will start in May after being delayed for weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, they have stalled after major differences became apparent.

The US will not sign a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK unless its food standards demands are met.

Mr Lighthizer said agriculture was a “fundamental” issue for the US.

However, Boris Johnson is under immense pressure to protect UK farmers from US meat and food imports.

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