Chlorine Washed Chicken – If Brits Don’t Want It Then Brits Won’t Buy It, Will They?

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There’s a logical fallacy at the centre of this argument about chlorine washed chicken – that Great American Terror we’ll be exposed to under a free trade agreement post-Brexit – which is that if we don’t want it then we’ll not buy it, will we? At which point it rots on the shelves and no more is imported. It only becomes an influence on the market, affects prices and local production standards, if we do buy it.

If we buy it then we’re happy with the trade offs involved. Which means, of course, that it shouldn’t be banned. For why should there be a ban on something we’re happy with? Thus this insistence upon a ban is and must be an agreement that we do want it but we shouldn’t be allowed to have it:

Johnson said the process of using chlorine to wash chicken was the same as that used by EU farmers to treat their fruit and vegetables.

Well, yes, that’s true. But further:

Jim Moseley, the CEO of Red Tractor Assurance, which oversees standards on many British farms, said: “Categorically, the UK’s food standards are now under threat from the commercial appetites of the United States food lobby. We urge the government not to sacrifice legislation which prevents these sort of products from being sold in the UK. “British people deserve better than having their world-leading food standards sold out from underneath them. Our research shows that shoppers look for food that has been produced to the highest standards of food safety, animal welfare and traceability. “A deal that allows illegal products to be brought into the UK, lets down the British public and undermines all the investment and efforts of British farmers. This cannot be the right thing to do.”

Note the insistence there. British consumers, by choice, won’t buy chlorine washed chicken. Therefore there’s no problem if chlorine washed chicken is for sale because no one will buy it, will they? It’s a self-solving problem.

But the insistence is still that we must have a ban. Meaning that those arguing for the ban don’t believe their own statements about the British insistence upon the highest standards of food production, do they? They can’t have it both ways, we don’t want it, wouldn’t buy it, therefore it must be banned doesn’t work.

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Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

The Remainiacs are arguing that the US won’t allow us to label their chicken so as to be identifiable (I’ve no idea how true that is or even whether it’s permitted/required by WTO), but my response is that UK producers should stick big red “chlorine-free” labels on existing chicken, just as is done (only with green labels) on organic chicken.

If there’s a real problem, it may be that much of the chicken we eat comes from Nando’s or KFC or the local curry house, where its origins can be a bit obscure.

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

There’s this bizaire belief that if action A is not banned, that bans the opposite of action A. If labelled content is not forced, then labelled absence is banned.

I’ve just heard on the radio that farmers campaigning against government forcing farmers to lower standards. How?????? How on earth can the government force farmers to not choose to have high standards? Farmers are allowed to produce “non-organic” food, that doesn’t mean “organic” food is illegal.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Indeed, British farmers already have such a scheme operating within EU rules – the Red Tractor logo. Which allows consumers easily to identify food produced to higher UK welfare standards, if they care to.

erikbloodaxe
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erikbloodaxe

Look, I travel to the US frequently and people are dying in the streets from eating chickens dipped in swimming pools.

Grope_of_Big_Horn
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Grope_of_Big_Horn

Based on this link 24% of UK produced organic fruit and veg is not chlorine washed.
http://www.hydrachem.co.uk/brand/foodsaf/
So this part of the market is existing perfectly fine even with the chlorine washed market operating alongside it.
What is it about the land owning anti-US chicken brigade that thinks their choices in meat will be taken away from them, and that different consumer rules operate?
Ah, it’s protectionism. The meat producers are incumbents and get bigger subsidies per unit of calorie production.

Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

So, and correct me if I’m wrong, the US washes its chicken in chlorine (which needs to be dissolved in quite a lot of water) whereas here we wash our chicken in water (which contains a little chlorine to prevent water-borne diseases). Is that it?

Reginald Bowler
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Reginald Bowler

As far as I know we don’t wash it at all, since that spreads germs (which the chlorine is then supposed to deal with), and it’s not necessary or desirable.

Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

And yet the media does not talk of ‘unwashed chicken’ which requires a higher standard of hygiene which of course we can rely on minimum wage workers and no-wage housewives to adhere to.

Mohave Greenie
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Mohave Greenie

I’ve followed this discussion for a while and have yet to hear what the actual health risk of chlorine washed chicken is. Does it cause people to vote for Trump or something?

Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

Only an actual differential rate of chicken-related harm between the two countries would tell you. It’s amazing to me that supposedly serious people can debate the subject without mention of that. It’s almost as if they have an ulterior motive, or at least an agenda based on other criteria than health.

starfish
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starfish

I look forward to the wholesale banning of chlorine washed children in swimming pools

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

The following chemicals are added to UK tap water:

Liquified chlorine
Fluorosilicic acid
Aluminium sulphate
Calcium hydroxide
Sodium silicofluoride

The fact that US chickens are washed in chlorine horrifies Remainers, but whilst composing hyperbolic rants to post on-line they are, one imagines, drinking chlorinated cups of coffee.