The French Agriculture Minister has added his voice to increasing concerns over a controversial proposal to lift a ban on US poultry imports.

The decision to ban poultry imports from the USA into the EU was put in place 10 years ago due to health concerns about antimicrobial agents used by American processors.

France has been vocal in its absolute opposition to lifting the ban and has shown no signs of altering its view. Speaking to Reuters, French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier said: “The position has not changed. The Americans can do what they like but we will do what we want. There’s no aim to export the American model to Europe.”

“A vast majority of member states have already given their views on this,” he said during an informal meeting of EU farm ministers in Slovenia.

Jeff Rooker

It follows DEFRA junior minister Jeff Rooker’s admission at the Recent British Poultry Fair that “I would not touch chlorinated chicken with a barge pole.”

Back in early April, a body representing farmers and co-operatives in the EU warned that allowing US poultry imports will undermine the efforts of EU businesses producing high quality chicken. Pekka Pesonen, secretary general of COPA-COGECA, explained that in the EU, poultry producers comply with highly demanding and costly rules to control salmonella on the farm.

The Commission should be consistent and support the European way of producing poultry meat instead of permitting production methods that go against its own philosophy,” concluded the secretary general.