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Saturday 17 August 2019

Isabel Oakeshott’s Chicken Con

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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Anonymous said...

Just like at the obesity levels in the US, that's as good a reason as any to keep their foods off our shelves

Anonymous said...

Whilst the EU isn't a perfect beast, at least our common standards of animal husbandry are far, far better than those of the US. But those that see pound signs before their eyes in the chance of making a financial killing are happy to abandon these standards, knowing they'll never be eating the poor quality stuff imported if we do.

Wildswimmer Pete said...

UK tap water is usually chlorinated to 1 part per million but during warm weather it can be a little higher. Swimming pool water is usually chlorinated at around 3ppm - the "chlorine" smell of pools is down to the reaction with chlorine and the urea in urine to form trichloramine together with other toxic compounds that are also responsible for red "chlorine eyes". The chlorine wash used in the US is around 50ppm. There several compounds that can used in the wash, one of those is sodium hypochlorite aka toilet bleach.

Tory Ben Bradley is talking through his arse and Oakeshott is not any better.

Anonymous said...

If anything is "factory farmed" it's far right tories like Oakeshitt and (very) Badly.

Either that or straight off the Murdoch/Rothermere propaganda production line.

Anonymous said...

Very informative, Wildswimmer Pete - thank you!

Stephen said...

The discussion online has got bogged down - probably deliberately - in chicken. It's not just chicken: all our food standards, built up over many years, will have to be changed if we want any kind of a deal with the US.

And as for the "You don't have to eat it" bunch: adequate food labelling is another food standard that will go: US food companies manage to keep an awful lot off labels that we have as standard. So we won't know what we're eating, or where it comes from.

Sam said...

I just cannot believe how naive people are when they think the USA is just going to roll over and offer the UK a fab trade deal (even though they take years to conclude) on the spurious notion we are "special friends".
It's why these deals take ages to conclude because everyone obviously wants the most advantageous deal for them but when you have no options (having pissed off the biggest trading bloc in the world just over the pond) you are there to be taken advantage of.
Yet Britain seems to believe a known con-artist and many times failed businessman will somehow be the UK's saviour even though Congress calls the shots and would want what is best for the USA having 100 years of screwing the rest of the world on trade.
Let alone- who in the Hell is going to negotiate these deals?
Britain needs about 5000 expert trade negotiators. The ex-Oz PM Malcolm Turnbull loaned about 10 to the UK for a time but they've all been withdrawn to work on a seemingly never-ending deal still being negotiated with China which began over 10 years ago.
And anyone who thinks the Chinese won't put the screws on any trading partner they are dealing with who thinks they can get reprieve from the USA has rocks in their head. They can run rings around the rest of the world as Australia is now discovering having lorded it over the tiny South Pacific nations who have now turned to China for aid.