No US turkey on European Christmas dinner plate
The agriculture ministers of the European Union, who met in Brussels last week, voted against the attempted move by the European Commission to lift the ban on decontamination of poultry carcasses.
The US rinses its poultry after processing with chlorine, a practice that is banned in the EU.
In May, EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen had proposed lifting the 10-year ban under certain conditions, including guarantees from the US that the meat would be rinsed with water.
Veterinarians, EU governments and the European Parliament however rejected the move due to what German ag-minister Ilse Aigner calls "a different philosophy" regarding poultry processing.
The US food industry rinses poultry in chlorine to kill off bacteria, including salmonella, before it reaches consumers. This practice however is banned in the EU.
"The Americans are free to disinfect their poultry with chlorine. We don't want to do it, and we will not do it," said French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier.
Veterinary experts in the EU instead use hygiene controls throughout the hatching and rearing cycle to better ensure that bacteria does not develop in the first place.
Ban in Russia too
US poultry producers are also banned from exporting chicken meat to Russia as they have not provided guarantees on the absence of chlorine in their production, the Russian agricultural regulator said.
Rosselkhoznadzor spokesman Alexei Alekseyenko said in an interview in Russia's respected business daily Vedomosti said that "Poultry producers did not provide guarantees that imported chicken meat will not be treated with chlorine-containing solution, which is prohibited by [Russian] chief sanitary officer Gennady Onishchenko."
He added that Russia's current stock of chicken meat would only last for a month.
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