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Europe

EU Keeps US Poultry Off Christmas Menu

EU agriculture ministers have rejected attempts by the European Commission to lift a long-running ban on US poultry. The US rinses its poultry with chlorine, a practice that is banned in the EU.

A poultry farm in Niederrhein

The EU and US disagree when it comes to poultry processing

According to an EU official, 26 agriculture ministers who met in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 18 voted against the attempted move by the European Commission to lift the ban.

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 politician 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.

To bleach or not to bleach

Farmer Adolf Kueppers stops car traffic in Duisburg Baerl, western Germany, to cross the street with his 200 geese, Thursday Dec 5, 2002

US geese won't be heading to Europe for Christmas dinner

"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.

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