The British Poultry Council (BPC) has shared the results of its trade survey with GlobalMeatNews, showing that 82.5% are concerned about the impact TTIP negotiations will have on the poultry industry.
Poultry in the US is dipped in chlorine to kill bacteria, such as campylobacter and salmonella. This practice is banned in the EU, where a more expensive ‘farm to fork’ practice is adopted to ensure such bacteria are not present.
Cees Vermeere, secretary general of the Association of Poultry Processors and Poultry Trade in the EU countries (AVEC), explained why the EU practice was preferable: "The EU ‘farm to fork’ policy may be seen as very sustainable since you try to control and minimise the food safety risks from the beginning of the chain and then also reduce the potential burden from the farm to the environment or neighbourhood.
"As an example, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), broiler meat may account for 20%-30% of the campylobacteriosis in humans in the EU, while 50%-80% of human campylobacteriosis may be attributed to the chicken reservoir. Therefore, interventions to control better and reduce pathogens need to be taken as early as possible in the value chain."
TTIP negotiations have reached their seventh phase, but no agreement has been met on poultry products. Trade body Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), which represents organisations on both sides of the Atlantic, said it was not an acceptable approach to have a "mutual recognition of standards whereby one party must accept products deemed in compliance under the other party’s regulations", and when an agreement cannot be met on certain products, they should be excluded from the TTIP.
Chris Potter from the BPC said this was a cause for concern: "We are in the final stages of talks – often when bargaining takes place. We are concerned the negotiating process will create pressure to get an agreement in place, which could mean making relaxed decisions on food safety."
Meanwhile the BPC survey also showed members believed that rather than focusing on one export market, there was a similar potential to export poultry meat to China, Russia, Africa and other EU countries. Moreover, half of all respondents believed the government needed to focus on trade policy rather than promotion via trade fairs. Investment and compartmentalisation were seen as the other main critical areas to encourage exports.