Bacon, that glorious food that so many people crave for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, could be the lynchpin in a proposed future U.S.-U.K. trade deal.
The Soil Association, a food safety group in the U.K., has issued a report listing U.S. bacon with additives as one of the top safety risks posed by the proposed free-trade agreement. Chicken and beef are also being cited as risks.
Specifically, it’s the pork additive ractopamine—a perfectly legal additive in America, but one that has been banned throughout the European Union since 1996. Ractopamine adds weight to pigs prior to slaughter, but has been found to cripple the animals. That’s not slowing demand in the U.S., though, where Americans are eating so much bacon that reserves are at a 50-year low.
The group also warned about the practice of washing chicken in chlorine and the growth hormones fed to cows.
“Some of the key differences between U.K. and U.S. production—hormone-treated beef, GM crops, and chlorinated chicken—are becoming increasingly understood by British consumers,” the report says. But there are “other areas where products imported from the U.S. could be produced under significantly different standards to our own.”
Some U.K. officials are eager to sign a trade deal with U.S. farmers with the upcoming withdrawal from the EU, but U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has hinted the agreement will hinge on substantial rule changes, such as allowing the chlorination wash for chicken.
The Soil Association warns this could have negative consequences for U.K. consumers.