Commission tables antimicrobial controls

The European Commission has proposed rules mandating the controlled use of four key antimicrobials in cleansing poultry carcases.

The European Commission has proposed rules mandating the controlled use of four key antimicrobials in cleansing poultry carcases: chlorine dioxide, acidified sodium chlorite, trisodium phosphate and peroxyacids.

If these are agreed, it would clear the lifting of a de facto ban on American poultry imports, which are generally treated with chlorinated water. This treatment is currently banned for poultry sold in the European Union (EU), but the Commission proposal would allow it for two years, after which a review would be staged. The EU might then decide to make this authorisation permanent.

Under the proposals from the Commission, these substances would have to be used separately for EU-sold carcases and treat whole birds, not cuts. Poultry and poultry products treated with them would have to be labelled as "treated with antimicrobial substances" or "decontaminated by chemicals".

The proposal has been submitted to the EU Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) for consideration. The European Parliament's environment committee is opposing the move, and has sent the Commission a formal parliamentary question, asking whether it does "not see such food production methods are... threatening to the EU's entire set of food production standards and rules". British conservative MEP John Bowis branded the move "outrageous". If these are agreed, it would clear the lifting of a de facto ban on American poultry imports, which are generally treated with chlorinated water. This treatment is currently banned for poultry sold in the European Union (EU), but the Commission proposal would allow it for two years, after which a review would be staged. The EU might then decide to make this authorisation permanent.

Under the proposals from the Commission, these substances would have to be used separately for EU-sold carcases and treat whole birds, not cuts. Poultry and poultry products treated with them would have to be labelled as "treated with antimicrobial substances" or "decontaminated by chemicals".

The proposal has been submitted to the EU Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) for consideration. The European Parliament's environment committee is opposing the move, and has sent the Commission a formal parliamentary question, asking whether it does "not see such food production methods are... threatening to the EU's entire set of food production standards and rules". British conservative MEP John Bowis branded the move "outrageous".

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