As part of the attempt to soften up the electorate in advance of that possible no-deal Brexit, the thoughts of the anti-EU Pundit Establishment are turning to objections that may be raised to doing a trade deal with the USA - a trade deal which would be very much on the USA’s terms. That means addressing concerns about Stateside food standards, including hormone treated beef - and chlorine washed chicken.
Sadly, some of the excuses advanced in favour of US-standard chicken have not been convincing - except for the misinformed and easily persuaded. After the Murdoch Sun told readers “'Britain must accept chlorinated chicken in new US trade deal’”, Tory MP and amateur human being Ben Bradley whined “Errmmm... We have chlorinated TAP WATER in this country. Worth thinking about before kicking off about chlorinated chicken”.
Basically, folks, it's like this
Yes, he was allowed to become an MP. What Bradley manages to miss is that the chlorine washing may mask the presence of - for instance - salmonella, which is not always killed off by that washing. It may also conceal poor animal husbandry. James Ball was unconvinced: “Chlorinated chicken enables horrendous animal welfare conditions, which is what virtually every opponent of it knows and every advocate conveniently forgets”.
So more forceful intervention was required, which meant mercenary hack and Brexit Party booster Isabel Oakeshott wading in to the argument. “Listen. Have you SEEN the conditions in which factory farmed chickens are reared in this country? Do you know what goes into them? Cruel and grotesque. No moral high ground for the UK!”
Well, I have news for Ms Oakeshott, and it is that this is a campaign likely to progress not necessarily to her advantage. Let’s consider salmonella. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention estimates "Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the United States every year. Food is the source for about 1 million of these illnesses”. And for the EU?
In 2016, the number of hospitalisations was 1,766, and there were 10 deaths. None of those deaths was in the UK. The population of the USA is 327 million; that of the EU (including the UK) is more than 512 million. Do the math, as they say.
Or how about this, from last year? “Shocking hygiene failings have been discovered in some of the US’s biggest meat plants, as a new analysis reveals that as many as 15% (one in seven) of the US population suffers from food borne illnesses annually. A joint investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and the Guardian found that hygiene incidents are at numbers that experts described as ‘deeply worrying’”.
One California resident moving to the UK noted “As it turns out there are plenty of foods that are readily available for consumption in America that are straight up banned in the UK. Things like artificial food dyes, brominated vegetable oil, synthetic growth hormones and even arsenic (yes, the poison) are all allowed to a certain extent in our food. All of these ingredients have been linked to various cancers, birth defects, and nerve and organ damage, just to name a few ‘side effects’”. Best not look over there, eh Isabel?
Isabel Oakeshott tries to bluster her opponents off the ball. One look at the facts tells you why. US food standards are lamentably poor when put alongside EU ones. End of story.
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