Boris Johnson to US: Britain ‘not keen on that chlorinated chicken’

Boris Johnson to US: Britain ‘not keen on that chlorinated chicken’

The National Health Service is not up for grabs as part of any trade deal between the U.K. and U.S., Prime Minister Boris Johnson told U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday, Politico reports.

Johnson also said Britain was "not keen on that chlorinated chicken," according to the Daily Mirror. Johnson was referring to the American practice of washing chicken carcasses with chemicals to tackle pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli — a process known as “pathogen reduction treatment” that's banned in the EU.

In a heated debate on Brexit on Wednesday, Johnson said: "There’s only one chlorinated chicken that I can see in this House, and he’s on that bench." He repeated the line to Pence on Thursday, saying: “We have a gigantic chlorinated chicken of our own on the opposition benches.”

The role of the NHS in any post-Brexit trade deal is a sensitive subject in Britain. During his state visit in June, Donald Trump said in a press conference alongside then Prime Minister Theresa May: “When you’re dealing in trade everything’s on the table, so NHS or anything else … everything will be on the table, absolutely."

A day later, he rowed back, telling ITV: “I don’t see it [the NHS] being on the table. Somebody asked me a question and I say ‘everything’s up for negotiation’ because everything is — but that’s something that I would not consider part of trade. That’s not trade.”