EU to demand UK keep chlorinated chicken ban in order to get post-Brexit trade deal
The EU is set to demand the UK keep its ban on chlorinated chicken if it wants to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the bloc.
A leaked version of the EU’s negotiating mandate, seen by The Guardian, said the UK must maintain “health and product sanitary quality in the food and agriculture sector” in line with Brussels.
The new paragraph, reportedly added on the recommendation of French officials, suggests the EU would require the UK to maintain bans on certain food production practices.
This would include methods such as endocrine disruptors, selected pesticides and chlorine washes for poultry.
It comes after the Environment Secretary George Eustice failed to rule out a ban on importing chlorinated chicken from America after Brexit.
He would only say the Government had “no plans” to allow poultry treated that way into the UK, pointing out that most US producers no longer use that method.
His comments came despite his predecessor, Theresa Villiers, explicitly stating that the ban on chlorine-washed poultry and hormone-fed beef would stay in place in any UK-US trade deal.
EU ministers are set to sign off on the bloc’s negotiating mandate on Tuesday, with talks with the UK set to begin next week.
Meanwhile the UK Government is understood to be publishing its own mandate on Thursday.
It is understood that the EU will demand the right to punish the UK if it fails to follow certain rules, but will not demand full alignment with its regulations.
The leaked agreement obtained by The Guardian, states “the envisaged agreement should uphold common high standards, and corresponding high standards over time with Union standards as a reference point”.
However, both Boris Johnson and his chief negotiator David Frost have ruled out keeping the UK aligned with EU rules and standards.
On Monday, a Downing Street source said: "Our overriding objective in the negotiations is by 1 January to have taken back control and we won’t agree to anything that doesn’t deliver that. Which means no rule-taking from the EU and no role for the European Court of Justice.
“Our red line is we have to have taken back full control by 1 January.”