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The chlorinated chicken debate

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The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby Pepper Pig » Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:54 am

I’ve come a bit late to this but just need some clarification from those in the know. Comedian and broadcaster Advil Ray has just Tweeted, whether in jest or not, that soon the only way to be sure your chicken isn’t chlorinated will be to buy Halal.

Are we really not going to be able to buy the high quality organic free range stuff? It seems unlikely.

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby Earthmaiden » Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:47 am

I don't claim to be in the know.

The way I have read it to date is that with lifted restrictions, our market would be flooded with very cheap meat whose origin and treatment we knew little or nothing of - much less than currently - which isn't always a lot.

This would make it much harder for farmers in the UK with high welfare standards or fully organic farms to compete sustainably without any backing and they could be priced out of the market. I think that (for now at least), labelling and provenance of good meat will be clear - but possibly labelling of not so good meat will be misleading and price will make it attractive to many. If you know where the meat has come from (I.e. a local farm or similar reputable source) there should not be an issue, as long as the source can keep in business.

BTW, I have just looked further into halal meat and there doesn't seem to be anything against chlorination provided the slaughter has taken place according to the required procedure so the 'joke', as I read it at least, probably doesn't hold.

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby Stokey Sue » Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:26 pm

I like that autocorrect has changed Adil (a brummie) to Advil (a painkiller)

Halal probably won’t be chlorinated I suspect simply because anything that makes a claim over and above “chicken” - halal, kosher, organic, free range, Label Anglaise has to be traceable to support the claim, and that will exclude imported nasty chicken, I don’t think anyone is planning on chlorinating here?

There’s surely nothing to stop a retailer from labelling their chickens accurately?
for example it could be M&S Oakham Chicken reared in Britain, prepared without chlorination

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby cherrytree » Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:25 pm

Just a reminder. Michael Gove the then Secretary of State for the Environment.lied to the nation when he promised listeners to the Today Programme in 2017 that chlorinated chicken would be imported into the UK.

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby Suffs » Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:30 pm

There is a subtle bit of misinformation going on ... the constant references to chlorinated chicken are misleading. Much chicken produced in the US is not washed in chlorinated water but in saline. The ingredient of the 'wash' is not the important issue ... the important issue is that a wash of either chlorine, saline or whatever is needed because of the danger of bacterial contamination of the chicken due to the crowded and unclean conditions in which they are reared. The issue is really one of animal welfare. The danger is that there will be an agreement not to import chlorinated chicken into the UK and a disingenuous claim to have won whereas we will really have lost.

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby Earthmaiden » Sat Jun 06, 2020 3:22 pm

To me, the term 'chlorinated chicken' has always been a term to cover far more than just that but any meat reared in poor conditions where animal welfare and bacterial contamination are of great concern. As far as I'm concerned we don't want this kind of meat from anywhere, however cheap it is, we have fought long and hard to improve standards.

By not accepting this very cheap meat - from anywhere - surely we are helping the cause? It will surely mean that they lose out on exports - or do you mean they will just send possibly contaminated meat without it being washed?

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby Stokey Sue » Sat Jun 06, 2020 3:54 pm

Suffs I think most of us know why chlorinated chicken is an issue, that it’s the chicken and the farming practice not the wash but slogans longer than about 10 words don’t really work do they? It’s a useful rallying cry

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby cherrytree » Sat Jun 06, 2020 3:57 pm

That is probably what I meant. Yes of course I want chicken in the UK to have been reared in acceptably humane conditions and not needing to be sanitised in some way to hide disgusting practices.
The chicken one is relevant. It is easy for me to buy chicken for me to cook and for me to check its nationality and to some degree its provenance.
However when it comes to a lot of processed food it will be much harder. In ready meals, in fast food outlets, in hospitals and in my particular case, my nine grandchildren’s school meals. This worries me considerably.

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby Suffs » Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:02 pm

Stokey Sue wrote:Suffs I think most of us know why chlorinated chicken is an issue, that it’s the chicken and the farming practice not the wash but slogans longer than about 10 words don’t really work do they? It’s a useful rallying cry


Yes, but you wait until the government announced that they’ve won ... they won’t allow chlorinated chicken in ... and then in the small print we discover that they’ve agreed to admit saline washed poultry in.

We all know how reliably this government sticks to the spirit of regulations ... I mean there’s no way that any of them would find a way to wangle something through is there? :roll:

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby Earthmaiden » Sat Jun 06, 2020 7:06 pm

You are so right Suffs :(. We must all look at the small print carefully.

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby cherrytree » Sat Jun 06, 2020 7:54 pm

Wangle is far too kind. Lie is more accurate

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby KeenCook2 » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:58 pm

I am very, very confused :? :?

I have a feeling I've read that food labelling - ie origin labelling - is no longer going to be required. This is particularly relevant in relation to the "chlorinated chicken" debate - used as an umbrella term for chicken and meat not produced to European welfare standards, not specifically chrlorine washed chicken.

If it will be clear that meat or chicken originates from the US, then I won't buy it. If not, then how are we going to know where the food comes from and be able to avoid buying it?

Will UK producers still be able to label their meat/chicken as reared in the UK or EU food we import labelled as reared in the EU?

I believe processed foods are not required to list the origin of all the various ingredients? Fortunately I don't really buy any processed meat or chicken products anyway.

I really appreciate the food labelling in terms of ingredients, protein, carbohydrates etc etc that appreas to be obligatory on practically all packaged food.
Is this something else that might be dropped - I vaguely recall a friend saying once in passing that this labelling was introduced as an EU regulation.

I had also heard that "Organic" doesn't always go hand in hand with "Free range". Free range clearly doesn't always go hand in hand with organic so you have to be a bit careful here as well.

I am trying to get my head round all this, without much success :? :?

Is anyone else as confused as me or do I take the prize / wooden spoon for the most confused Wildie camper? :lol: :lol:

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby Pepper Pig » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:23 pm

No! Why do you think I started the thread? :tongueout :tongueout :tongueout

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby jeral » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:27 pm

KeenCook2, the short answer at the moment is that no-one knows what will happen.

At the moment, we are still bound by EU rules, and our own, and will be until we finally leave the EU entirely. We will still be bound because EU rules are embodied into our law but only until such time as the government changes them. With a whopping majority in parliament, this government won't have much difficulty in doing what it wants. I think removing EU law has to be done by primary law rather than statutory instrument, but it's probably not that simple.

You are right that composite goods don't have to show each and every country. There's also the workaround of being "packed in the UK". I personally doubt that will change.

Re Organic vs Free Range: Organic has to be free range, but free range doesn't have to be organic.

Of course, whatever regulations are in place, it doesn't mean there won't be hoodwinking going on with labelling and sources, either by accident, negligence or design.

I suspect the price differentials between organic, free range and usual could widen significantly once loosening comes about.

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby Earthmaiden » Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:08 am

Well said jeral.

My thoughts are that you would only be sure of the provenance of meat if you went to a butcher or farm who you trusted and who could tell you exactly where the meat had come from.

We already have the wool pulled over our eyes with regard to meat despite probably the best labelling we've had for a long time, there's an awful lot we don't know, or prefer not to think about. A lot of fast food type chicken still comes from Thailand, meat piled up on a market stall gives no indication where it has come from, even free range chicken in a supermarket showing the name of the farm it has come from might not be quite the farm the mind conjures up. I think that some chicken in supermarkets is incredibly cheap and the cheaper it is the less happy life the chicken has had. That doesn't mean that someone on a very tight budget can afford it but it does mean that if it cost any less you could forget about any kind of animal welfare.

It will be sad also if the current standards for such things as 'free range' drop even lower but unfair profits are made from it.

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby Pampy » Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:14 am

Methinks Hugh F-W needs to get involved with this...

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby cherrytree » Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:09 am

I have possibly said this before, but provenance can sometimes be uncomfortably close. My Cumbrian butcher puts the name of the farm on his Facebook page when he shows his beef. It really has been a case of eating the neighbours. As I can see the cattle and sheep all around us this is quite reassuring as their conditions are excellent.
I would never have imagined this as a child growing up in Cheam!

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby Suffs » Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:43 pm

As some of you know I grew up on a farm and for some time after that I had my own smallholding where we reared our own meat. For many years I knew exactly which animal I was eating. I knew it had experienced the best life we could give it and was not frightened or stressed at the abattoir ... it was a good feeling.

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby dennispc » Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:30 pm

Thanks Suff for the heads up on saline. Clever, eh?

I'd agree no-one knows what will happen come the end of the year. However, when the PM issues a three line whip to his MP’s to ensure an amendment to the recent Agriculture Bill doesn’t go through, it seems reasonable to conclude he did for a specific reason.

If you want to know how your MP voted, here’s the list.

https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/ ... hN.twitter

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Re: The chlorinated chicken debate

Postby Pampy » Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:07 pm

Hmm...seems my MP didn't vote. After I signed the NFU petition, I sent an e-mail to my MP and haven't even received an acknowledgement.
I'm very worried about this issue. I don't eat red meat or pork, only poultry and that has to be free-range or organic because I want to have a reasonable assurance that the animal has been treated properly. The thought of eating poorly treated poultry actually incenses me and I'm worried that I won't be able to identify its true provenance.

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