U.S. farmers have insisted that any future deal with the U.K. must include agriculture but British campaigners argue that it would hurt farming standards and leave consumers faced with imports of chlorine washed chicken and hormone-fed beef.
In the U.S. it is legal to wash chicken carcasses in chlorinated water: producers and regulators in the U.S. argue it reduced the spread of contamination. Such items are banned in the EU on health grounds and concerns that it could be used by unscrupulous producers to make meat appear fresher.
Once the U.K. leaves the EU it will be free to decide whether to retain the EU's ban or lift it and accept U.S. food standards. These differing views on the issue are partly what caused the U.S. and the EU to fail to agree on a transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) last year.
President Donald Trump, who has long advocated striking a deal with the U.K., tweeted Tuesday that "protectionist" EU rules were preventing a deal and the creation of new jobs.
Though industry bodies have said EU regulations should remain in place. The British Poultry Council slammed the notion of importing chlorine-washed chickens as part of a "makeweight in trade negotiations with the U.S."
"The U.K. poultry meat industry stands committed to feeding the nation with nutritious food and any compromise on standards will not be tolerated. A secure post-Brexit deal must be about Britain's future food security and safety. This is a matter of our reputation on the global stage," it said in a press note.
During a press conference in the U.S. Monday, Fox dismissed critics, saying that the British media was "obsessed" with chlorine-washed chickens and risked undermining plans to achieve a free trade agreement with the U.S.