Poultry council expresses TTIP fears

Trade negotiations with the US have the potential to undermine the British poultry industry, according to the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

NFU poultry board chairman Duncan Priestner has expressed fears of lower standard imports leaving UK producers at a competetive disadvantage. Speaking at a breakfast meeting in Brussels, he told delegates that minimum American welfare standards are lower than they are in Europe, and the industry could be at risk from cheaper imports.

He explained: “Our consumers have high expectations, higher than many of our competitors. We are proud of our world-leading standards. However, these standards all add to cost of production and this puts us at a disadvantage to the US.

“We are concerned that lower standard imports could leave us on an uneven playing field and undermine our consumers’ values.

“We would like to send out a clear message to those involved in the negotiations that we do not regard US poultry production systems to be equivalent to the UK and we believe that the gap between the EU and US production methods is too wide and it is unrealistic to reach a compromise.”

One example of the differences in poultry production is the washing of poultry in chlorine in the US, which is illegal here.

Priestner was speaking at an event jointly held by the NFU and the National Pig Association as part of the discussions over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

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