Chlorine Washed Chicken – If Brits Don’t Want It Then Brits Won’t Buy It, Will They?


There’s a logical fallacy at the centre of this argument about chlorine washed chicken – that Great American Terror we’ll be exposed to under a free trade agreement post-Brexit – which is that if we don’t want it then we’ll not buy it, will we? At which point it rots on the shelves and no more is imported. It only becomes an influence on the market, affects prices and local production standards, if we do buy it.

If we buy it then we’re happy with the trade offs involved. Which means, of course, that it shouldn’t be banned. For why should there be a ban on something we’re happy with? Thus this insistence upon a ban is and must be an agreement that we do want it but we shouldn’t be allowed to have it:

Johnson said the process of using chlorine to wash chicken was the same as that used by EU farmers to treat their fruit and vegetables.

Well, yes, that’s true. But further:

Jim Moseley, the CEO of Red Tractor Assurance, which oversees standards on many British farms, said: “Categorically, the UK’s food standards are now under threat from the commercial appetites of the United States food lobby. We urge the government not to sacrifice legislation which prevents these sort of products from being sold in the UK. “British people deserve better than having their world-leading food standards sold out from underneath them. Our research shows that shoppers look for food that has been produced to the highest standards of food safety, animal welfare and traceability. “A deal that allows illegal products to be brought into the UK, lets down the British public and undermines all the investment and efforts of British farmers. This cannot be the right thing to do.”

Note the insistence there. British consumers, by choice, won’t buy chlorine washed chicken. Therefore there’s no problem if chlorine washed chicken is for sale because no one will buy it, will they? It’s a self-solving problem.

But the insistence is still that we must have a ban. Meaning that those arguing for the ban don’t believe their own statements about the British insistence upon the highest standards of food production, do they? They can’t have it both ways, we don’t want it, wouldn’t buy it, therefore it must be banned doesn’t work.