In the House of Commons, Roger Williams MP, raised the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations between the EU and US and the risks they bring for the UK poultry industry.
Roger Williams MP said "that while TTIP may represent significant opportunities to the food sector we must be cautious that these opportunities do not come at the expense of the efforts that UK food businesses, particularly the poultry meat producers, have made in the improvement of the sustainability, quality and standards of production here in the UK."
Williams continued to highlight that poultry meat production methods in the US are by no means equivalent to those in the UK. One of the principles of the TTIP negotiations is equivalence, which is where the US and the EU agree that different practices are, for the purposes of trade, deemed to be equivalent.
It is not just the poultry meat sector which is at risk as egg producers are also very concerned about competition from US producers.
Williams asked the Government to send a clear message to the European Commission and the US that the current US poultry meat production practices are not regarded as being equivalent to those in the UK. If the US wishes to export to the EU it will need to modify its practices to meet those of EU Governments and consumers.
George Eustice said that the agreement is just the beginning of the process and that TTIP would be the basis to negotiate specific market access issues, product by product. He reassured members that EU negotiators have consistently stated that we will uphold the EU's food safety standards throughout the TTIP discussions.
Williams said: "I was pleased to be able to raise the issue of the proposed trade agreement between the EU and the US in terms of poultry production, both meat and eggs.
"The standards of animal welfare, hygiene and environmental considerations are so much higher in the EU and particularly the UK that any trade must be on the basis of equal standards. Negotiations must reflect that if it is going to be fair to our producers."
NFU Economist, Lucia Zitti, said: "The NFU has been lobbying both in UK and Europe for poultry meat, eggs and egg products to be treated as sensitive in the negotiations.