U.S.-EU Poultry Dispute on the Use of Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs) [November 19, 2012] [open pdf - 253KB]
"In January 2009, the outgoing Bush Administration escalated a long-running dispute with the European Union (EU) over its refusal to accept imports of U.S. poultry processed with certain pathogen reduction treatments (PRTs). Bush officials requested World Trade Organization (WTO) consultations with the EU on the matter, a prerequisite first step toward the establishment of a formal WTO dispute settlement panel. The U.S. poultry industry supported the WTO filing by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and encouraged the Obama Administration to continue to pursue the case. PRTs are antimicrobial rinses--including chlorine dioxide, acidified sodium chlorite, trisodium phosphate, and peroxyacids, among others--that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for use in poultry processing to reduce the amount of microbes on meat. Meat and poultry products processed with PRTs are judged safe by the United States and also by European food safety authorities. Nevertheless, the EU prohibits the use of PRTs and the importation of poultry treated with these substances. The EU generally opposes such chemical interventions and believes that stronger sanitary practices during production and processing are more appropriate for pathogen control than what it views as U.S. overreliance on PRTs."
CRS Report for Congress, R40199