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Renita Jablonski: The European Union could soon lift a ban on U.S. imports of chickens and turkeys. This would open up a market worth more than $200 million a year for American farmers. From our European Desk in London, Stephen Beard reports.
Stephen Beard: The E.U. banned American poultry 11 years ago. The Europeans objected to the American practice of washing the birds with chlorine to kill bugs like salmonella. The E.U. claimed that process itself poses a threat to human health. But pressure to lift the ban is mounting. The Americans have insisted the issue be resolved by an E.U./U.S. trade council, which meets today. Andrew Bounds of the Financial Times says the Americans see the chickens as the thin edge of the wedge.
Andrew Bounds There’ve been a lot of issues about food over the years, the different ways of processing food. I think, the Americans think if they can crack the chickens, they can probably push ahead with beef, corn and many other things which are not allowed on the E.U. market that they produce.
He says the chicken ban should be easy meat for the Americans. There was always a whiff of hypocrisy about the chlorine issue. Some European producers use precisely the same method on chickens they export.
In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.