U.S.-EU Poultry Dispute on the Use of Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs) [January 19, 2015] [open pdf - 256KB]
"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. […] Despite initial consultations between the United States and the EU, in October 2009, the USTR asked the WTO to establish a dispute settlement panel regarding the EU restrictions on imports of U.S. poultry. The United States has asked the panel to review whether the EU's ban on the import and marketing of poultry meat and poultry meat products processed with PRTs violates the EU's WTO obligations. USTR claims that PRTs are judged safe by U.S. and other public health authorities, citing European scientific opinions indicating that PRTs pose no risk to human health. The latest scientific opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) states that 'chemical substances in poultry are unlikely to pose an immediate or acute health risk for consumers.' In addition, in 2011, the international food safety organization Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) issued guidelines for the control of Campylobacter and Salmonella in chicken meat that covers the use of certain hazard-based control measures, including acidified sodium chlorite and trisodium phosphate, among other rinses and oxidants. Some believe the Codex guidelines should effectively resolve concerns about the use of these substances in poultry processing. Nevertheless, USTR and the U.S. poultry industry remain actively engaged in this case, and the United States and EU continue to maintain widely divergent views not only on the poultry issue but on some aspects of their basic approach to food safety regulation."
CRS Report for Congress, R40199