EU vet experts have overwhelmingly voted against a controversial Commission plans to lift a ban on imports of US “chlorinated” chicken.

This ban on 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. There had been growing opposition to the lifting of the ban from EU producers, a DEFRA junior minister and the French Government.

A vote in the Standing Committee of Food Chain and Animal Health held earlier this week saw 26 reject the proposal while the UK abstained from voting.

The vets explained that they were not convinced by the Commission’s arguments that the four chemicals had been cleared by the European Food Safety Authority, that the carcasses would be rinsed with water after treatment thereby washing off any possible residue or that consumers would be fully informed by clear labelling.

The dossier will now be handed over to European agriculture ministers.