U.S.-EU Poultry Dispute on the Use of Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs)
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. This dispute dates to 1997, when the EU first banned the use of PRTs on poultry, effectively shutting out virtually all imports from the United States since then. Such treatments are routinely used in U.S. chicken and turkey plants. The United States views the EU ban as a trade barrier that is not based on scientific evidence showing that such treatments are harmful. EU interests believe that stronger sanitary practices during production and processing are more appropriate for pathogen control than what they view as U.S. overreliance on PRTs.
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