The noisy debate around the import of US chicken meat cleaned by chlorination has been fed by “anti-American bigotry”, according to Andrew Percy, an MP in the UK’s ruling Conservative party.
Mr Percy, who has a keen interest in transatlantic trade, made the remarks during a parliamentary debate about the future of the UK’s agriculture policy.
He told MPs he wanted to “chide” Michael Gove, the UK agriculture secretary, for comments about US food production and chlorinated chicken which were “not helpful” to the UK’s future relationship with its key transatlantic partner.
In summer last year, Mr Gove was forced to wade into a row over food standards after Trade Secretary Liam Fox expressed his support for a US-UK deal which would allow chlorinated chicken on to UK shelves.
“Having access to the US market is incredibly important to British farmers post-Brexit, just as it is important for American farmers to gain access to our market,” Mr Percy said.
“Any agreement must therefore be based on evidence.”
“Where we have differences, it is still possible to negotiate a deal.
“Some of the comments which have been made about things such as chlorinated chicken have fed anti-American bigotry, which would not be accepted in any other relationship.
Chlorine in tapwater too
He added that “there is a lot of evidence out there about chlorinated chicken.
“I do not propose to go into it, other than to point out a person would have to eat a full chlorinated chicken to get the same amount of chlorine as they would get from one glass of water.
“I do not see many people advocating drinking or importing raw water.”