“British microbiologists find that American technique at heart of Brexit trade row does not kill listeria and salmonella.
The chlorine washing of food, the controversial “cleaning” technique used by many US poultry producers who want access to the British market post-Brexit, does not remove contaminants, a new study has found.
“The investigation, by a team of microbiologists from Southampton University and published in the US journal mBio, found that bacilli such as listeria and salmonella remain completely active after chlorine washing. The process merely makes it impossible to culture them in the lab, giving the false impression that the chlorine washing has been effective.
“Apart from a few voluntary codes, the American poultry industry is unregulated compared with that in the EU, allowing for flocks to be kept in far greater densities and leading to a much higher incidence of infection. While chicken farmers in the EU manage contamination through higher welfare standards, smaller flock densities and inoculation, chlorine washing is routinely used in the US right at the end of the process, after slaughter, to clean carcasses. This latest study indicates it simply doesn’t work.”
“Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth hit out after the US President’s health secretary Alex Azar suggested that they would use trade negotiations to put pressure on countries with “socialised” healthcare.
“Trump last week blamed high US drug prices on “freeloading” nations that used their bargaining power to force US pharmaceutical firms into giving them pills and treatments at low cost.
“Azar this week told CNBC: “The reason why they are getting better net prices than we get is their socialised system.”
“But Ashworth told HuffPost UK: “This is yet more evidence the NHS could be at risk in any trade deal. Rather than holding his hand Theresa May needs to send Trump a clear message – our NHS is not for sale.”
“The row came as a new Harvard study
warned that it was a “fantasy” to believe a new free trade deal with Washington would be good for the UK.”
“Twenty years ago, the Good Friday Agreement put an end to Northern Ireland’s Troubles, a 30-year conflict that pit nationalists/republicans (mostly Catholic) fighting for a united Ireland against unionists/loyalists (mostly Protestant) fighting to stay in the United Kingdom. The agreement included numerous signatories: paramilitaries, all but one of the province’s major political parties, and the governments of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
“Many parts of the agreement rested on the fact that both the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland belonged to the European Union and, thus, shared a common political and economic framework. The U.K.’s decision to leave the E.U. — called Brexit — could undermine important parts of the agreement….
“… Although the agreement didn’t set out to foster economic integration, the absence of war and common membership in the E.U. made it possible. Today, people, goods and services move freely across the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The only indication that you’ve crossed the border is a change in the background color of signs — green in Ireland and blue in Northern Ireland.
“Brexit calls all these relationships into question. The most pressing issue is the border. When Britain leaves the E.U., the E.U.’s legal boundaries will change. How the border changes is ultimately up to British and E.U. negotiators, but the two largest parties inside Northern Ireland — Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) — don’t agree on what the border should look like.”
“The upsurge in xenophobia is a stark reminder that the human rights framework—protecting human dignity and ensuring equal treatment—is a compass in times of crisis. That is by design. Forged in the ashes of the Second World War, the architects of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights understood that “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind” and that the best bulwark against them in future is human rights “protected by the rule of law”.
‘The UK leaving the European Union could put some protection of important rights at risk: there is a danger that labour rights and protections against discrimination in UK law, which are underpinned by EU rules, could be watered down by parliament in future. That must be guarded against.”
And for strawberries?
Fruit and vegetable growers across Britain are suffering from a sharp decrease in seasonal workers from other European Union nations who make the harvest possible. Some farmers are actually moving to China!