Open Message from a concerned American to the U.K...

As an American who regularly visits the UK to enjoy the simple pleasures of eating in pubs where they know where their meat is sourced and their vegetables are grown. I love the fact that many of your butchers take pride in the fantastic quality of their meat. Even your supermarkets, the best of them at any rate, pay attention to welfare standards and sustainability.

It’s not the same in the United States where quality butchers are scarcer than hen’s teeth. And in the US most animals are raised in heartbreaking feed-lots and never graze on lush pastures.

So I want to sound a warning for UK consumers about the trade negotiations currently being hammered out between with the USA and the European Union. It’s called the TTIP in the UK, the TTP in the States,and its being fast tracked into Trans-Atlantic law with most of the negotiations are being held in secret behind closed doors. 
nottipWhether you like Jamie Oliver or not, his words about the TTIP are worth your attention.Indeed the US Senate are fast tracking the legislation on our side of the Atlantic at the moment.
The implications of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership for the food you put in your mouth and the welfare of your farm animals are profound and alarming.
If it’s ratified the TTIP will see chickens fed with arsenic and washed with chlorine arriving on the shores of the UK in millions. You Brits will be buying pork produced from pigs fed on a dangerous growth promoter that distresses them and can weaken their bones until they snap.
And your own British beef will have to be washed with lactic acid to preserve it before it will be accepted for import into the States.
Worse of all the Treaty will see the ban on animal products used to produce animal feeds overturned raising again the horrifying spectre of a return of Mad Cow Disease to the British herd. 

cattle feed lotYou see the TTIP is all about ‘harmonisation’ so that standards are similar on both sides of the Atlantic. To harmonize trade Europe will have to roll back welfare standards and forget the public distaste for meat pumped with antibiotics and growth promoters; largely fed on GM fodder.

To ‘harmonize’ the US will demand you Europeans ditch your long established ‘precautionary principle’ when it comes to food safety in favour of the far less rigorous ‘risk assessment’ approach favoured in the States.
And all because our governments are fixated on the false god of globalization and the agribusinesses and super big food processors want to turn extra profits.
Here’s a list of just some of the US requirements which will come into force with TTIP and fundamentally change your food.
  • EU nations will have to accept imports of US meat treated with a whole array of non-therapeutic antibiotics and hormone growth promoters.
  • You’ll have to accept pork that has been laced with the growth steroid Ractopamine – already banned as a human asthma treatment. This means that during its short life the pig will have lived a life of constant distress as the drug mimics stress hormones.  Its bones will be weakened by the drug to the point where its legs may snap. There are also fears it will work through and inhibit other asthma treatments in people who eat it.
  • In 2002 the EU legislated against animal by products being used in animal feed. Basically grass eaters were being turned into meat eaters and it led to the horrors of Mad Cow Disease and Swine Fever which still haunt British farmers.  But the American Feed Industry Association wants that rule swept away. After all they lost sixty per cent of their exports to the EU because of it.
  • Chickens imported in their millions from the States will routinely have been given feed additives laced with arsenic. After slaughter they will be chemically washed with a spray of hypo-chloride.
  • Animal welfare standards will be eroded as the US demands an end to labels outlining welfare standards and an end to animal treatments on farms. They’d also like geographical labels indicating where regional food is phased out.
  • Organic food standards will be affected and so would the ability of farmers to save and exchange seeds posing a threat to heritage plant breeds.


Will these frightening changes be ratified and passed into legislation? Well there’s every indication they will as the EU has already U turned on a recent prohibition against thirty one pesticides implicated in male infertility and testicular cancer. And that was on the insistence of US agribusiness.
It will be argued that these changes will only affect food produced for export but how long before chlorine washed, arsenic laced chicken is on a UK market shelf? How long before you’ve got Ractopamine in your bacon?
Given the record of the big food producers on issues like horse meat in processed food I am not optimistic. The UK government should take a stand against many of the US demands. You have some of the best meat, raised in the most welfare conscious farms, in the world. It deserves to be protected.