With as much as 30,000 tons of American poultry in the pipeline to Russia, the government in Moscow imposed a ban on future U.S. poultry imports on New Year’s Day.

Russia joins the European Union in prohibiting the use of chlorine as an anti-microbial treatment in poultry production, which is commonly used in the United States.

poultry2-story.jpgAs for birds in the pipeline, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council President Jim Summers said he thinks based on earlier assurances from the Russian Veterinary Service that poultry in transit will be allowed to enter.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defended the use of chlorine by the American poultry industry.

“Since chlorine has been used as an anti-microbial treatment for more than 25 years, this resolution effectively blocks U.S. exports of poultry to Russia, has a devastating impact on the U.S. poultry industry and trade, and raised the costs of poultry products for Russia’s consumers,” says USDA spokeswoman Katie Gorscak.

She said there is overwhelming scientific evidence that chlorine is safe and effective as a disinfectant for poultry.

American poultry exports to Russia are the biggest component of U.S. agricultural exports to the former Soviet Union.  Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Russia has grown to become American’s tenth largest Ag export market for a total of $1.8 billion in 2008.   Poultry was almost half of that amount.

Losing another near billion-worth of exports to Russia over chlorine comes as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has also been unable to open the EU to U.S. poultry for the same issue.  For trade disputes with the EU, complaints go to the World Trade Organization (WTO).  But, Russia is not a member of WTO.

In 2009, Russia accepted poultry from the U.S. under a quota lowered from 2008 levels.   Russia’s domestic poultry industry has improved greatly over the past few years, but experts say the country will still need U.S. birds to meet the demands of its consumers.

The EU ban on bathing chicken in chlorine has been in effect since 1997.  The US-EU dispute was a test case for the Transatlantic Economic Council, which was formed in 2007 to facilitate trade and business between the two economies.  A plan to end the ban was vetoed by EU veterinary experts.

The U.S. and Russia plan to hold technical talks over the chlorine issue.  As written, there is more chlorine in most U.S. public water systems than Russia would allow for chicken baths.

  • jmunsell

    Can anyone out there explain what Russian and EU poultry processors utilize as pathogen interventions since chlorine is prohibited in those countries? Secondly, how do their microbiological test results compare to ours? And lastly, do their birds have similar pathogen loads to loads we experience here in the US? It may be possible that Russia and EU poultry plants already produce more wholesome poultry, without chlorine, than we do. This ban may merely be a trade restriction issue. Nevertheless, we need answers for the above questions. John Munsell

  • John Munsell

    Can anyone out there explain what Russian and EU poultry processors utilize as pathogen interventions since chlorine is prohibited in those countries? Secondly, how do their microbiological test results compare to ours? And lastly, do their birds have similar pathogen loads to loads we experience here in the US? It may be possible that Russia and EU poultry plants already produce more wholesome poultry, without chlorine, than we do. This ban may merely be a trade restriction issue. Nevertheless, we need answers for the above questions. John Munsell

  • andrew

    In Russia we use acid.

  • Japie van Rooyen

    What are the reasons given by Russia for banning chlorine bathed chickens/poultry products? Or what are their concerns regarding chlorine bathed chickens/poultry products?

  • James

    Russia has the sense to want an organic product. Is that to much to ask?

  • Mike

    In the EU and Russia, rather than use a wash on a dirty chicken, they spend the time and money to just keep things much cleaner along the production chain.
    That’s not to say that chlorine isn’t used as an anti-microbial/bacterial in these countries, as they can, and do, use some chlorinated solutions in vegetable processing.
    But one has to wonder about the regulation of “colon cleansing” in the US with bleach-treated chickens and ammonia-treated beef… not to mention ammonia used as a preservative in livestock feed. If the government could somehow be convinced into letting food companies add more processed sawdust and lignin in our food, pretty soon we may not have to wipe our bums.

  • d. doehring

    most european countries sterilize their drinking water
    through ozon!!!!! not chlorine

  • Cadavre

    “Can anyone out there explain what Russian and EU poultry processors utilize as pathogen interventions since chlorine is prohibited in those countries?”
    They don’t rely on big agra monopolies for food. They live closer to the land. They have banned GM foods. The EU is more answerable to it’s citizens (except for england) than is the US – they remember Bastille. EU citizens are better educated, speak many languages, know the names of countries on a map, are not invading or setting up military bases all over the world, have a long history and have better health systems that pay doctors based on the wellness of their patients – nutritional items that would affect EU doctor pay are not tolerated. US is #37 in health care (among developed nations)with an infant mortality rate higher than Cuba, who spends about 300$/year per Cuban for health care.
    Porn and Pot are not loss leaders for a corporate prison industry – they’re legal in the EU.
    The US is about big prison, big war, big insurance and fat dumb hillbillies waving made in China US Flags and singing all hail to our little man complex.
    In the US – we’re – frankly – ignorant as nails and racist and jump on any old band wagon that makes us feel chosen. We live under an oligarchical fascist regime – EU citizens live in republics.

  • max

    I don’t know what reasons Russia offered, but they are doing their people a great service since chlorine has been proven to be a major factor in causing cancer. Do a search on Dr. Hulda Clark ( who recently passed away at the age of 83), and after your read past the baseless attacks, learn what she discovered about how the toxic chemicals in chlorine play a key role in cancer, which is only a symptom. This woman cured thousands of cases of cancer, simply by removing the causes. Remove the cause, and quit poisoning the immune system, and the symptom goes away. And it doesn’t matter what kind of cancer it is. They all start the same way, the organ chosen is just a detail. She has written many books where she freely gives away her research, which is worth many times more than the price of the books, and I’m thinking that she didn’t even take any money off the books, which have information in them which she could have patented. This was an extraordinary woman, the kind you naturally don’t hear anything about, because cures don’t fund multibillion dollar cancer industries and pharmaceutical companies. The best one of her books to start with is the last one she wrote, called “The Cure and Prevention of all Cancers.” This is the one where she finally pinpointed the role of chlorine treated water supplies and the resulting food contamination in the exploding rates of cancer. Read what this stuff that we use to disinfect our food and water with, actually has in it. Every kind of toxin and heavy metal imaginable, including the radioactive derivative polonium. This is a crime against humanity. Of course she was attacked by the establishment for her discoveries.

  • Michael D. Toth

    Cadavre, you got that right!! You KNOW this, I KNOW this – most AmeriCANT’S will not even listen to people saying these things!! People who say these things are “kinspearsy phreaks” or “kooks” or just PLAIN WRONG and not true patriots and if they don’t like they should just LEAVE !! I read somewhere years ago – that some wise man from the past said; “The best argument against DEMOCRACY is a five minute conversation with the average AMERICAN.” That’s like from 40-50 years ago – imagine the quotes we would get nowadays!!

  • Tasha

    To Cadavre:
    You have nothing to say on the topic. If you were born and raised in Russia you’d know better than praise their health system and food industries. It’s the greatness of this country (US) that even allowed you to think this way. In Cuba you’d be still thinking who’s wearing a distributed pair of socks today: you or your wife. Please do us a favor – move to Europe, to some coward country which colors run. Or go to Russia and try drinking their water from the faucet, that would fix you.

  • Cadavre is right in some facts. I used to live in EU, visited Russia many times and speak Russian easily. Now I live in the US and I agree with cadavre, MANY Americans are racist, don’t know where the countries are on the map, are ignorant, lazy, money and entertainment hungry. I am in college, and there were times when 3 of us in a group (2 americans and me) would have a conversation, and then these two would just ignore me and not respond to my comments in the conversation. So totally rude. Same scenario happened to my friends as well.
    And when it comes to keeping a conversation with your average American peer, is that they do not go beyond answering your question, I got the impression is that do not wish to have a discord with you unless you are an American. It’s so evident in college and life. One of many things I noticed is how friendly people are from other nations: Philippines, Latinos, EU, Great Britain, etc, they engage with me in conversation so easily and effortlessly it’s simply amazing compared to Americans whom I have to pull by the tongue to utter several sentences with a practically non-existent to-and-fro interaction.
    Many people in the US are very gullible, take every word as gospel from the media, TV, newspapers. They fail to check other sources of news, they don’t know that Federal Reserve is a private entity, that there is no legal law requiring you to pay taxes (call the IRS ask them to give you a name of the law book, pg# and law# that specifically says you must pay taxes-it’s none existent). I am disappointed that few of Americans care about their health, know little about the world and are so ego-centric.

    • laura

      I’m sorry you are running into the wrong Americans. Even as an American/ US Citizen, who has travled and has an above average vocabulary, some people won’t talk to me. We were actually asked to dumb down our language by some people which with my husband worked. Most Americans/ US CITIZENS know income tax is not something that is quite legal but we also know the government will hunt us down. Americans are from Canada, the United States, Middle, and South America.

  • Merissa

    Good for Russia!

  • George

    This is an absolutely ridiculous pretext. Pollution levels in Russia are horrendous both in drinking water, in air, and in food industry. Imported poultry is by far safer than domestic products. Chlorine was used around the world for decades and is safe and efficient. I’m amazed people can’t see Putin, as usual, using international trade as a political weapon, though it’s been his trademark for a decade.

  • George

    An excerpt from House discussion:
    Mr. DRAZEK The problem is that because we have very strict standards in this country on pathogens, it is almost impossible for a processor to do that and still meet our requirements. So the effect of this agreement really is that we are not going to be able to export poultry products to Europe, not so much because Europe has banned it, but because of a requirement that they have in place that we could not accept, would force us to export product that doesn’t meet our higher standards. It would force us to export lower quality products.
    Mr. DOOLEY. I understand that. But I don’t understand what we’re doing to resolve that, because as I understand, most of our domestic HACCP requirements almost require a decontaminant, and most often chlorine treatment in the chillers, is that what are we doing, to solve this issue?
    Mr. DRAZEK. The study that was agreed to was a proposal put forward by the Europeans I believe because many in Europe understand the importance of the use of decontaminants, and the fact that because of HACCP they will probably have to use decontaminants in the future for export to the United States to meet our requirements.
    And they, too, are looking at the possibility of establishing within Europe HACCP-like requirements in the future. I think they understand that decontaminants are going to be required in the future. And so the study itself will perhaps enable them to make the changes to their legislation to legalize the use of some of them.
    Mr. BLUNT. I just have maybe one or two questions and a concern. Did you say earlier, maybe before I got here, am I right in assuming no European product in poultry any kind of similar agent to chlorine involved in it?
    Mr. DRAZEK. Well, we were told that during the course of these discussions that at least two member countries of the European community were using chlorine.
    Mr. BLUNT. Was Great Britain one of those?
    Mr. DRAZEK. Great Britain was one, and France, for export, was another… It’s our hope that the scientific review that they’ve agreed to undertake with our full participation will enable them to make a change to their statutes to allow the use of decontaminants.
    I think that with respect to some decontaminants, we probably expect that to happen because, quite frankly, we expect that they are going to have to use the antimicrobial treatments in the future in Europe.
    Mr. HOBEN. USDA strongly recommends–indeed, virtually requires–chlorine in chillers to comply with the USDA system. Yet, the USDA was not able to prevail with the Europeans that our system and products are indeed as wholesome or more so than theirs… The concern is that what we feel is an artificial trade barrier, basically the concern over chlorine, if other countries who would like to create a barrier who haven’t been able to create a barrier see this as an opportunity that if the Europeans can keep the U.S. poultry out on a chlorine issue, why couldn’t we.

  • Roger L. Wilson

    Chlorine is probably the sinle largest cause of cancer in this country.
    Chlorine combines with other chemicals in water which can be carcinogenic. Chlorine causes heart disease, arteriosclerosis, and premature aging.!!
    If chlorine were a new product and proposed for water purification today, it would never be approved.
    Chlorine is time consuming, expensive,bleaching, irritating, corrosive, poisonous, causes cancer, heart trouble,and accelerates aging. Chlorine is a virtual time bomb to your health and your wallet.
    Just enter chlorine or effects of chlorine or chlorine cancer, or other coombinations words along with chlorine if you are looking for the truth about chlorine.
    We don’t want lead and we don’t want cadmium in our products.. I can hardly blame anyone for not wanting CHLORINE!! I don’t want it either.
    Use a bit of common sense and make your own decision.

  • roger l. wilson

    Chlorine killed thousands of our troops in world war one. Now someone tell me how safe CHLORINE is.

  • roger l. wilson

    Chlorine killed thousands of our troops in world war one. Now someone tell me how safe CHLORINE is.

  • roger l. wilson

    Enter keywords —-chlorine side effects—– in your web browser. Then give us your comments about the safety of chlorine.
    Thank You
    Roger Wilson

  • chukcha

    It may come as a surprise, but water and oxygen, just as chlorine, may kill you 🙂

  • George

    I guess, propaganda works best on fears of uneducated people. Those who are afraid of chlorine conspiracy should know that they consume it in bigger quantaties, virtually every day. Yes, it’s most commong food ingredient NaCl (sodium chroride), which, not unlike other salts used in food industry and water treetment, dissasociates in water and produces small quantaties of chroline and other substances: 2NaCl + 2H2O → Cl2 + H2 + 2NaOH. And yes, salt is large quantaties is bad for your health, but not because of chlorine.

  • roger wilson

    I was in the hospital last october for a bit of brain surgery.. Before and after the surgery, the hospital gave me water and after they put an oxygen mask over my face so I could breath pure oxygen.
    I am still alive. I am still breathing oxygen in less concentration and my water intake comes in the form of a beer in moderate amounts.
    I am still alive.
    If I would drink a pint of chlorine, I hardly would make it 10 feet before I would die. Think about it a bit mor.

  • ikhsan

    there is nothing to discuss if we concern to HEALTH topic, but if people more care about EGO (american always right) then you can continue this discussion and eat american poultry to poisoned your own body.

  • roger wilson

    I believe I agree with you. Everyone knows CHLORINE is poison. What else is there to discuss??
    Americans have an ego?? Maybe, but it is not contageous. I dont have to have an ego unless I want to. I can be a humble person just like you.
    Have a great day and make a million.

  • Tony

    The facts about the chlorine safety are not new ones. It is a poison, having so many negative side effects to the health. But it is only a small drop in a problem. It is not a secret that American/Canadian made food is one of the most toxic in the world. These poor chickens were fed with the dead animals made feed, plus add all these herbicides, pesticides and whole line of chemicals entering American/Canadian food chains. I am surprised that the American/Canadian food somebody buys in the world. Simply it is a poison!!

  • Karina

    Can someone give me the link to the European document as of 2007 where it is said about this ban on import of chlorine treated poultry??? I’m trying to find it but can’t

  • Sarah

    Bottom line is…if you want to export things to another country, you should better respect local laws, customs, differences in culture. American companies, especially agriculture sectors are HORRIBLE at doing this; attempting to sell products that don’t meet the safety standards/laws/local tastes to other countries.

  • JT

    I have lived in Russia for 7 years and have seen US poultry on the shelves at the market and then overnight disappear.Not because of chlorine…..because the domestic market could not compete. Russia would like to access the WTO one of these days so something had to be invented. Poultry has been imported from the US for over 10 years and this is the second time they have invented something to resist the competition. Russian poultry is the worst imaginable. I routinely have opened packages with chickens that have broken bones and bruised and torn skin. Only last night I ate some chicken that had me running to the toilet to reverse the process of eating. I can’t even look at a chicken now without feeling ill. I have been eating US chicken all my life and I have no hint of the dangerous “chlorine cancer”…..nor have I any ill effects from drinking chlorinated water in all my 72 years. You can’t even drink the water here. Bottled water only.BTW the price of chicken almost tripled after US meat was banned.

  • Jay

    The chlorine that is used in the processing plants is minimal and is dilouted with H2O. After the “chlorine” bath the chicken’s are rinsed off with plain water. The process is for human consumption safety and not to harm anyone and is rinsed off after anyway so your not eating chlorine. And when the product is cooked there is nothing to be concerned about anyway.

    • Jimmy Douglas Mitchell

      The chlorine is not rinsed off, on the other hand it is treated again with more harsh chemicals such as acids.