Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Russia may ban chicken imports from U.S. due to chlorine chemical used in processing
(NaturalNews) Beginning on January 1, 2010, Russia has officially banned imported poultry products from countries that use chlorine in their processing methods. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that Russia will no longer allow chicken imports from the U.S. because the chlorine baths used to sanitize chickens do not meet Russian food safety standards.
Since it comes from Russia, many may dismiss the ban as being politically charged with no scientific validity. However many nations around the world, including all within the European Union, have banned poultry imports from chlorine-using countries because of the dangers posed by the chemical. These countries use different methods to disinfect meat, including air chilling and electrolyzed water treatments, which do not expose the meat to harmful chemicals.
Putin expressed that Russia is working to become poultry self-sufficient by the year 2015 but, until then, will import only from nations that do not use chlorine in meat processing. Each year, the import quota will be dropped until, eventually, all chicken will be domestically raised in Russia.
When the issue first surfaced back in 2008, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Export Council tried to persuade Russia that the chlorine treatment methods used on chicken are both safe and effective. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the hypochlorus chemical used, which is an active form of chlorine, is an effective antimicrobial.
Rather than reconsider the safety of its own treatment methods, U.S. regulators tried to use rhetoric to convince Russia to accept U.S. imports and failed miserably. Russia refused to hear any of it, ending $825 million worth of U.S. chicken imports into its country.
The truth about chlorine chicken baths is that not only are they not truly effective but they expose people to a steady stream of toxic chlorine every time they consume chicken. Chlorine is known to increase cancer risk and cause other serious problems including respiratory illness and heart disease. Like other environmental halogens, chlorine contributes to thyroid dysfunction as well.
The levels of chlorine used in chicken baths, which average somewhere between 20 and 50 parts per million (ppm), do not always kill all the pathogens present. According to a European Consumers' Organization study conducted in 2007, 83 percent of U.S. chicken that had been treated in chlorine baths still contained harmful pathogens. The bath essentially becomes a pathogen cesspool that contaminates all the other chickens that are submerged in it.
It is no wonder that Russia, the E.U., and a growing list of nations around the world are refusing chlorinated U.S. chicken.