What the cluck? Michael Gove says chlorinated chickens aren't coming to the UK

Emma Haslett
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Chickens On Display At The 2016 Poultry Show
Gove said the government won't wing it when it comes to trade deals (Source: Getty)

It looks like the debate over chlorinated chicken is over for now, after environment minister Michael Gove insisted the UK will not relax its rules on animal welfare in the pursuit of a trade deal.

The row was kicked off in earnest yesterday after the Adam Smith Institute published a report saying chlorine-washed chicken, which is commonplace as a method to kill salmonella in the US, should be allowed into the UK as part of a trade deal.

In a report bemoaning the "worst excesses of EU regulation", the think tank said negotiations between the UK and the US over the use of chlorine solutions to disinfect poultry carcasses, a practice the EU banned in the 1990s over health concerns, will be "symbolic" of how flexible the UK government is willing to be in striking new deals.

Yesterday Liam Fox, who spent the day talking trade with Donald Trump, said he would not allow the media's obsession with food standards to undermine trade negotiations between the US and the UK - before dodging questions over whether he would eat chlorine-washed chicken.

Trump subsequently tweeted:

But speaking on the BBC's Today programme this morning, Gove dashed Trump's hopes. He said:

I've made it perfectly clear, and this is something on which all members of the government are agreed. We are not going to dilute our high animal welfare standards or our high environmental standards in pursuit of any trade deal.

So there you go. Looks like the government isn't counting its chickens just yet...

Read more: Why did the chicken cross the Atlantic? Because of Brexit

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