Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Safety Breaches at U.S. Meat Plants Spark Outcry in UK Over Possible Post-Brexit Trade Deal

Food
Safety Breaches at U.S. Meat Plants Spark Outcry in UK Over Possible Post-Brexit Trade Deal
Shutterstock

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.

Milkyway from Segara Anak - Rinjani Mountain. Abdul Azis / Moment / Getty Images

By Dirk Lorenzen

2021 begins as a year of Mars. Although our red planetary neighbor isn't as prominent as it was last autumn, it is still noticeable with its characteristic reddish color in the evening sky until the end of April. In early March, Mars shines close to the star cluster Pleiades in the constellation Taurus.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda, Ph.D.

Despite a journey to this moment even more treacherous than expected, Americans now have a fresh opportunity to act, decisively, on climate change.

The authors of the many new books released in just the past few months (or scheduled to be published soon) seem to have anticipated this pivotal moment.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Marsh Creek in north-central California is the site of restoration project that will increase residents' access to their river. Amy Merrill

By Katy Neusteter

The Biden-Harris transition team identified COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change as its top priorities. Rivers are the through-line linking all of them. The fact is, healthy rivers can no longer be separated into the "nice-to-have" column of environmental progress. Rivers and streams provide more than 60 percent of our drinking water — and a clear path toward public health, a strong economy, a more just society and greater resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
A Brood X cicada in 2004. Pmjacoby / CC BY-SA 3.0

Fifteen states are in for an unusually noisy spring.

Read More Show Less
A creative depiction of bigfoot in a forest. Nisian Hughes / Stone / Getty Images

Deep in the woods, a hairy, ape-like man is said to be living a quiet and secluded life. While some deny the creature's existence, others spend their lives trying to prove it.

Read More Show Less