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Lynn Boylan MEP warns against EU plans for chemical washes on chicken

11 December, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has commented on revelations that the European Commission has proposed a new measure which will allow chemical washes containing peroxyacetic (PAA) acid, an antimicrobial rinse, to remove bacteria from poultry intended for human consumption.

Ms Boylan said:

‘Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the EU which absolutely must be tackled but the use of chemical washes is not the answer.

‘Aside from concerns surrounding the actual efficacy of such chemical washes, consumers do not want to eat meat with these kinds of treatments and it ignores the ‘farm to fork’ approach.

'With these washes being common practice across the Atlantic in the US and in the context of ongoing trade negotiations between the EU and America, one can't help but wonder if such a move is one aimed at appeasing trading partners rather than fixing food safety.' 

‘There are serious concerns that the use of acid at the end of the food chain to decontaminate food for consumption will encourage lax producers to ignore the need to improve poor hygiene measures which cause the bacteria in the first place. Emphasis should be placed on prevention and improved hygiene along the food chain rather than using chemicals to make up for the lack of it.

‘Furthermore, such washes wouldn’t tackle the spread of campylobacter from chickens to humans by other pathways other than eating the affected meat.

‘This proposal from the commission is due to be discussed amongst EU countries on the 15th of December and I call on the Irish government to confirm that it will be strongly opposing such a move. 

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