Finland opposes chemical treatment of chickens to fight Salmonella

FINLAND - The European Union wants to open the European market for meat to American chicken which is treated with chemicals in order to fight possible contamination with Salmonella.

Finland and Sweden are among EU member states opposed to allowing chemically-treated chicken onto the market.

"To put it bluntly, the treatment is just an attempt to cover up for poor hygiene in the early stages of production", says veterinary inspector Terhi Laaksonen of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

In the United States, the surface treatment of meat from chickens with chlorine or phosphate compounds is routine.

The Americans have long demanded that the EU change its regulations so as to allow the import of meat from American chickens into the EU.

"We do not believe that there would be actual harm to the consumer from the chemicals. They are rinsed off the surface of the meat, and they should not be dangerous."

However, Laaksonen feels that a bigger risk is that they give people a false sense of security.

"The wrong assumption arises that when meat is treated, it will have no Salmonella or Campylobacter. However, superficial treatment does not completely destroy the cause of disease."

calendar icon 3 May 2005
clock icon 1 minute read
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