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US representatives have reportedly warned if London attempts to stop the import of chickens or hormone-injected beef, then Donald Trump’s administration could retaliate by targeting the lucrative farmed salmon industry, which plays a key role in the Scottish economy. Scotland is the third largest producer of farmed salmon in the world, while the salmon industry as a whole is worth more than £800million a year to the country, is home to more than 11,000 jobs, with up to £200million of exports being shipped to the US on an annual basis. But now the US is said to be threatening a ban because of the prevalence of sea lice in Scottish salmon.
A source at the Department for International Trade told the Mail on Sunday: “Given that chlorinated chicken is already banned in the UK, for the United States to impose new tariffs on our produce would be illegal and something that we would fight hard against.”
A spokesperson for International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, who is heading up trade talks with the US, said: “This Government has been absolutely clear that it will not sign a trade deal that will compromise our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food safety standards.
“We are a world leader in these areas and that will not change.”
Discussions over a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and US have reached the fourth stage out of seven.
But the thorny issue of food standards has been a stumbling block in talks thus far and still remains unsolved.
US negotiators are likely to cite increasing fears about the environmental impact of salmon farming, particularly that caused by the near-150,000 fish which escapes from cages in the waters of Scotland each year.
This can cause pollution from faecal waste and chemicals they have been treated with, while wild fish stocks can be damaged through inter-breeding.
Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP Government are hopeful of significantly boosting Scotland’s economy by doubling the value of farmed salmon by 2030.
But the 30 million salmon harvested in the country each year are becoming increasingly infected with sea lice.
Conservative MPs are hopeful Joe Biden would take a more relaxed approach to this should he defeat Donald Trump in the upcoming Presidential election, by including UK in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
Recent research led by Dr Lance Price of George Washington University revealed 90 percent of turkey products, 80 percent of chicken, 70 percent of beef and 60 percent of pork sold in supermarkets in the US show unacceptable levels of E.coli.
Around 13 percent of US pork had salmonella – six times higher than the UK.
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The report also found almost half of the samples proved resistant to at least one of the six most common antibiotics in the US.
Dr Price said: “It’s a real risk in human health because if somebody has a serious infection with one of these pathogens.
“It’s resistant to the antibiotics that the doctor would use to treat them, then they could die.
“We have unequivocal, clear evidence that antibiotic use in animals leads to antibiotic-resistant infections in people.
“When you raise animals in a crowded, unsanitary condition, or give them feed they’re not evolved to eat, they get diseases.”
“Instead of changing the way we’re producing the animals, we give them antibiotics.”
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