February 14, 2020
EU to reject US demands to ease food safety rules
The 1990s mad cow disease scare means the European Union (EU) will reject demands by the United States to ease food safety rules, reported Reuters.
This comes after US President Donald Trump threatened to impose car tariffs on the EU if EU countries do not boost US agriculture product purchases.
Sonny Perdue, US Secretary of Agriculture said the EU should amend its food regulations, especially after exports of EU food and farming goods hit US$12 billion a year more than imports.
However, it is unlikely the EU will agree. Johan Bjerkem, European Policy Centre trade specialist said concerns over the mad cow disease (BSE) mean the EU will not drop its food standards and no politician will support any trade deal that do so.
US President Donald Trump, who has said that the EU is a worse trading partner than China, has raised the possibility of a new trade war.
While the US allows meat treated with growth hormones or peracetic acid washed poultry (chlorinated chicken), the EU has banned imports of these meat.
The United States said these rules are a cover for protectionism, especially as salad leaves in the EU are washed with chlorine. The measures do protect EU farmers. On the other hand, the EU said antimicrobial poultry washes is a cover for poor hygiene standards.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said the different washes are not a safety concern, though it is not a susbsitutue for good hygiene practices for poultry carcass processing.
EFSA also said there is not enough data to prove that hormone-treated meat is safe.