The British Poultry Council is calling for a Government-wide commitment that production standards of imported food will have to meet British standards as a condition of entry.
British Poultry Council, Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said:
“The British Poultry Council cautiously welcomes the clarifications that have been provided by the Department for International Trade regarding the quality and safety of future food imports coming into the UK following yesterday’s speech by the Secretary of State.
British farmers have worked incredibly hard to build a food system that enhances British food values and ensures high standards of production from farm to fork. As a nation we demand safe, wholesome, and nutritious food; world-class animal welfare; production that respects the environment; food that is affordable and available; and a sustainable and secure supply chain. It is vital that we don’t lower our food standards, of which animal welfare is an integral part, in pursuit of new trade deals.
That is why we are calling for a Government-wide commitment that production standards of imported food will have to meet British standards as a condition of entry. We look forward to engaging constructively with the Department for International Trade over the coming months to ensure that we don’t compromise on our animal welfare standards and accept trade products that do not meet our current standards of food production.”
Here’s a short summary comparing the production systems in the US and UK based on the ADAS report:
The UK/EU has multiple pieces of national legislation aimed at various aspects of animal welfare. For chicken alone this includes on-farm, catching, transport, and at slaughter. The US has no national welfare legislation covering farm animal welfare. Some states have laws but as of August 2016 the three major chicken producing states of Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas did not. In the absence of legislation, the voluntary standards of the National Chicken Council are observed.
Welfare during transport
The UK/EU has a maximum transport time of 12 hours, including space requirements. The US follows a maximum transport time of 28 hours with no restrictions on the number of birds in the crates.
In the UK, an environmental permit is mandatory for farms with over 40,000 birds, with requirements to use the ‘Best Available Techniques’ to minimise impact. The US requires a permit for farms with over 125,000 birds, and the use of a management plan.
Meat and bone meal in poultry feed
The UK/EU does not allow meat and bone meal from other terrestrial species, e.g. pigs, to be used in poultry feed. Some processed fishmeal is permitted. The US allows meat and bone meal to be used in poultry feed.
Stunning prior to slaughter
The UK/EU explicitly requires stunning, and the methodology and application is closely controlled by the legislation. The US has no specific legislation for stunning. However, there is a federal mandate that says slaughter must be ‘in accordance with good commercial practices in a manner that will result in thorough bleeding of the carcasses and ensure that breathing has stopped prior to scalding‘and this is universally interpreted as a requirement to stun.
The UK/EU only allows for potable water to be used to clean carcasses. The US allows for approved (food safe) chemicals to be used in the decontamination of carcasses.
Country of origin
The UK/EU requires labelling of meat as to where it was hatched, reared, and slaughtered, whereas the US repealed similar legislation in 2015.