Page last updated at 09:26 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 10:26 UK

EU plan may aid US poultry sales

Chicken on sale in Italy (file pic)
The row about US chicken has contributed to trade tensions

The European Commission has proposed accepting poultry treated with anti-bacterial chemicals, which could reopen the EU market to US poultry.

The Commission set out strict conditions for the chemical treatment, and the plan must still be considered by experts from the EU member states.

US chicken has been banned from sale in the EU for 11 years because a chlorine rinse is used on the meat in the US.

The Commission has set out treatment and labelling procedures for poultry.

The proposal, published on Wednesday, also calls for a mandatory scientific review of the procedures after two years, if the EU implements the plan.

After chemical treatment, the poultry would have to be rinsed in fresh water before chilling or refrigeration, to remove any possible chemical residues.

The plan allows producers to use four anti-microbial chemical substances.

The Commission demands strict monitoring of the resulting effluent and collection of scientific data by the poultry businesses concerned.

US poultry producers have voiced scepticism about the EU proposals.

The conditions set "would simply continue the protectionist policies that have prevented European consumers from enjoying safe, wholesome and affordable chicken produced in the United States," said Bill Roenigk, chief economist for the National Chicken Council, quoted by Reuters.

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