US meat and poultry ‘life-threatening’ recalls nearly double since 2013, highlighting risks of future imports

The number of meat and poultry products recalled in the US for potentially life-threatening health hazards has nearly doubled since 2013, according to a report by a consumer watchdog group.

The report has shed light on the potential implications for UK consumers should a trade deal be struck between the US and UK that allowed American meat on to British supermarket shelves. The British Poultry Council and NFU have both repeatedly warned against allowing meat to be imported that would be illegal to produce in the UK.

Last year, the  US Trade Representative issued a report that suggested Britain’s animal welfare and food safety standards are unnecessary and restrict trade. BPC chief executive Richard Griffiths said at the time: “British poultry producers don’t dip their chicken carcase in chlorine as we do not believe in ‘cleaning up at the end’ or taking any short-cuts when it comes to producing safe food. Using chemicals to disinfect food at the end of a production process can hide a multitude of sins, but what it can’t hide is the need for their use in the first place.”

The newly published report shows the US Department of Agriculture logged 97 meat recalls for serious health hazards in 2018, including the withdrawal of 174,000 pounds of chicken wraps for possible contamination with listeria.

These “Class 1” recalls – for conditions the USDA deems “a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that eating the food will cause health problems or death” – are up from 53 in 2013, the report by the US PIRG Education Fund said.


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