Liam Fox: I have no objection to chlorinated chicken

Posted On: 
1st November 2017

Liam Fox has said he has “no objection” to the British public being sold chlorinated chicken from the US after Brexit, arguing there are “no health reasons” to ban it.

Liam Fox speaking to MPs at the International Trade Committee
Credit: 
Parliament TV

The International Trade Secretary’s comments come after Michael Gove threatened to veto an agreement over the issue, saying the Government should not "compromise on high environmental standards in pursuit of a trade deal".

The prospect of importing birds treated in a chemical bath raised alarm when it was mooted as a possible consequence of a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.

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Chlorine-washed chickens are currently banned by the EU on welfare grounds, under rules which will no longer apply to the UK when it quits the bloc.

Defending the change, Dr Fox said most salads in the UK are “rinsed in chlorinated water” and he would be happy for Britons to eat chlorinated chicken as long as “they know what they’re eating”. 

He told the International Trade Committee: “There are no health reasons why you couldn’t eat chlorinated chicken. Most of the salads in our supermarkets are rinsed in chlorinated water and in terms of reduction of Campylobacter food poisoning, the US has in general much lower levels of Campylobacter food poisoning than most countries in Europe...

“I have no objection to the British public being sold anything that’s safe as long as they know what they’re eating 

“I’m a great believer in giving the British public the choice over what we eat as long as it’s safe, then should be the guiding principle.”