26 June 2000
Imported chicken ‘full of water and chemicals’

HUGE quantities of chicken sold in Britain are pumped full of water and chemicals, reports the Daily Mail.

Restaurants, pubs and clubs and small butchers may sell chicken breast containing as much as 40% added water, claims the newspaper.

And it adds that leading supermarkets Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys also routinely use chicken in ready-meals containing 15% added water.

Producers in Holland and Belgium send thousands of tonnes of the cheap meat, which is also injected with salt, sugar and E-numbers.

Birds are raised in vast sheds, which each hold 20,000 chickens, are fed antibiotics and reach maturity in 37 rather than 84 days.

Imports from Holland have doubled in three years from 52,000 tonnes in 1997 to a predicted 110,000t in 2000.

Trading watchdogs are demanding government and EU action to make sure the meat is properly labelled.

The Mail also reports that prosecutions of some major suppliers under labelling regulations is likely.

Major fast-food and restaurant chains have denied using water-pumped chicken.