The European Commission proposal to lift the current ban on imports of US “chlorinated chicken” was dealt another blow by the European parliament last week as MEPs passed a resolution against it.

EU commissioner for enterprise and industry, Guenter Verheugen of Germany, has been pushing for a lifting of the ban by claiming: “The US takes the poultry issue as a test case as to whether we are seriously pro-American.” The ban was introduced more than 10 years ago over health fears about a chlorine washing process used by American processors.

A non-binding resolution passed by a large majority of the parliament meeting in Strasbourg said the proposal “is out of step with both the European public’s food safety and hygiene expectations and the demand for production models… which ensure that high hygiene standards are maintained throughout the production and distribution process.”

“It would be likely to undermine European consumer confidence in foodstuffs sold within the European Union, which remains fragile following the food safety problems that have arisen within the Union over recent years,” the resolution added.

The proposed lifting of the ban has already attracted fierce criticism, with EU vet experts voting against it earlier this month. Concerns had also been raised by EU poultry producers and the UK and French agriculture ministers.