TTIP: Threatened import of "disinfected meat" edges closer

11 March 2015

The threat of US-produced meat rinsed with disinfectants being sold in Europe is increasing, even before any EU-US trade deal is agreed, warns Friends of the Earth Europe today. EU health and food safety officials told a stakeholder meeting yesterday that a new antimicrobial chemical rinse may be approved this year to disinfect poultry carcasses and meat.

New findings show that, not only has the European Commission tried previously to approve for sale so-called "chlorinated chicken" and other disinfected meat, but it is currently processing an application to allow imports of chickens rinsed in peroxyacetic acid, a disinfectant commonly used in factory farms in the US.

EU and national governments have repeatedly claimed that the EU's 'farm-to-fork' approach to food safety is not under threat, and that food safety standards will not be compromised by the TTIP EU-US trade deal. However, Friends of the Earth Europe believes pressure from US trade officials and the US factory farm industry is already leading to a reduction in food standards, and possibly even as a condition for the US to sign the TTIP trade treaty.

Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "The EU's approach to food safety is under attack, even before any trade deal with the US is agreed. Despite repeated denial from the EU and national governments, the pressure is increasing to allow more imports of factory farmed meat rinsed in disinfectants. The EU must take a clear stand and ban all imports of meat produced in this way, and show the public that it is not caving in to US trade interests."

The EU national governments have previously blocked moves by the European Commission to approve "chlorinated chicken", citing the precautionary principle and scientific uncertainty, as well as detailed concerns that its use could mask poor hygiene standards, impact on workers' health and lead to more pollution.

Mute Schimpf continued: "Friends of the Earth Europe is calling for the TTIP talks to be stopped. The dangers it poses for the safety of our food and the environmental impact of its production are more clear indications that TTIP is a bad deal for people and planet."