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Safety Breaches at U.S. Meat Plants Spark Outcry in UK Over Possible Post-Brexit Trade Deal
By Julia Conley
British food safety experts and lawmakers are raising concerns over a possible post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S. in light of newly-released records showing serious hygiene breaches in U.S. meat plants.
"We cannot allow this to be a race to the bottom. We should insist the U.S. raises its standards, and guarantees food safety, before we are prepared to allow in U.S. meat imports," said Kerry McCarthy, a former member of parliament and shadow environment minister.
The outcry comes after U.S. government data showed several instances of safety failures at American packing plants, including the packaging of diseased poultry meat in containers used for food products and the discovery of fecal matter in meat bound for grocery stores.
Health experts also raised alarm over a legal loophole that allows meat containing salmonella bacteria to be sold to Americans.
The British organization Sustain has found that nearly 15 percent of Americans—48 million people—suffer from foodborne illnesses per year. Only about 1.5 percent of people in the U.K. experience food poisoning annually, and only about 10,000 cases of salmonella contamination were found in 2016 compared with one million in the U.S.
"The U.S. meat industry has a responsibility to clean up its act," David Wallinga, senior health officer at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Guardian. The group obtained the documents detailing the industry's safety failings, many of which were found in Pilgrim's Pride, one of the largest American poultry producers.
Prime Minister Theresa May has refused to rule out a lowering of food safety standards in order to secure a deal with the U.S. following Britain's planned exit from the European Union, angering groups including Sustain.
"The U.S. has already warned us that we will need to lower our food standards in exchange for a quick trade deal, but we need to fight this hard," Kath Dalmeny, chief executive of Sustain, told the Guardian. "They are desperate to sell us their chlorine-washed chicken, but we know chlorine and other unpalatable treatments can mask dirty meat, low hygiene standards, and poor animal welfare, which the U.K. consumer will not stand for."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
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Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."