Four-ovens Tory grilled on whether he’d eat acid-washed chicken after Brexit

A Tory minister famed for having four ovens has insisted he is "not a food expert" after he refused to rule out eating acid-washed chicken after Brexit.

LBC attempted to skewer, grill and roast James Brokenshire after the government opened the door to washing poultry in lactic acid as part of a US trade deal.

As the Security Minister, Mr Brokenshire had no particular expertise on the practice – beyond being today's hand-picked Tory minister to face questions on radio.

But he does have form when it comes to food expertise – after posing last year with four ovens in his kitchen. An aide later insisted he did not have four ovens, simply “two, normal double ovens.”

Mr Brokenshire was questioned after Environment Secretary George Eustice refused to rule out allowing chlorine-washed or similarly treated chicken into the UK.

Mr Eustice told the BBC chlorine-washed chicken was currently against UK law, but added: "I’m not really sure that the Americans should be furious about some of these things.

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"Because if you look, for instance, at the poultry sector, very few American producers actually use chlorine, they tend to use lactic acid.

"They use other disinfectors such as lactic acids. And you know, there’s room for a sensible discussion here because we also use lactic acids on some species, notably on beef. We don’t use it on poultry."

Asked if there was a "compromise to be done" he replied: "There’s a discussion to be had, yes."

The EU allowed lactic acid washes on beef carcasses as a decontaminant in 2013 and was under pressure to allow it on chicken carcasses too.

But campaigners fear that using acid or chlorine washes to get rid of germs will allow farmers to descend to a lower standard of hygiene.

Mr Brokenshire was questioned several times by LBC host Nick Ferrari on whether he would eat chicken washed with lactic acid.

He replied: "Er, I want to ensure our standards are maintained. If that is consistent Nick with the environmental standards that we have over food, then, you know, we have some of the highest standards in the world around all of this, whether it be it EU or whether it be the American…"

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Mr Ferrari cut in: "Would you eat acid-washed chicken, minister?"

Mr Brokenshire replied: "I may well have eaten it in the past when I’ve been in America as it is."

Mr Ferrari added: "But would you want it here domestically?"

Mr Brokenshire replied: "I will take the advice – I’m not a food expert Nick.

"I may eat it, I may enjoy it as you and I both do. But ultimately I want to know the right standards are being upheld here.

"And therefore as we approach these trade discussions with the US or the EU, that we’re not going to compromise on the high standards that we maintain.

"So you and I when we go out and have our chicken Balti or whatever it may be Nick, we can be confident in the food that we eat."

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