Some people think the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and United States, represents a risk to food safety, public finances or even democracy. Others say such TTIP critics are partaking in hysterical naysaying.
Yet in their battle to curry public favor, both sides have headed off on the wrong track by putting forward striking simplifications, which are now compelling them to rethink their arguments. With huge levels of foodstuffs moving across the Atlantic, food safety has become a case in point.
Some TTIP opponents have turned the common U.S. poultry-farming practice of dipping chicken carcasses into a chlorine bath to kill harmful bacteria into a symbol for the feared easing of European standards.
They have succeeded in scaring consumers, who find the thought of so-called “chlorine chickens” disgusting. The method was banned in the European Union in the 1990s over fears it could cause cancer.