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New Environment Secretary fails to rule out importing US chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef

2 min read

The new Environment Secretary failed to confirm that the UK will ban the import of chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef from the US.

George Eustice said the Government has “no plans” to change the rules on food standards, but did not explicitly rule it out despite being asked several times.

This is despite the unequivocal rejection of the controversial methods by his predecessor Theresa Villiers, who said the current ban on such products would remain in place post-Brexit.

Sale of meats manufactured this way is currently illegal under EU law, and environmental campaigners have previously expressed concern chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef could be sold in the UK in a trade deal with America.

But speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Eustice said: “We won’t make any moves on our standards. 

“We’ve got a clear position in this country that it is illegal to sell chlorine-washed chicken, illegal to sell beef treated with hormones. We’ve no plans to change those things.”

He further deflected concerns about chlorine washing, saying: “It’s not the case that the US currently uses chlorine-washed chicken anyway.”

Mr Eustice added: “I’m not quite sure why the US would make such demands because actually chlorine washes on chicken are very outdated technology and it’s not really used by the US anymore anyway. 

“What they tend to use these days are lactic acid washes.”

The Cabinet minister, who assumed the role after Ms Villiers was sacked in last week's reshuffle, also defended the Government’s record on animal welfare.

He said: “The important thing I would say is we believe very passionately in this country about our food standards and about our animal welfare standards. 

“We’ve worked very hard over the last 20 years to build quite a sophisticated market where there’s a lot of consumer confidence in the providence of our food and how it was produced and the safety of our food. 

“And we’re absolutely clear as a government we will not take risks with our food standards.

“When it comes to animal welfare we will be projecting our views on animal welfare on the international stage. 

“It’s the UK that’s been a world leader in animal welfare, particularly farmed animal welfare, and we want to bring the rest of the world along with us."

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