I feel for George Wadsworth when he claims to be baffled by the votes of the Cumbrian MPs in Parliament (Letter, Gazette, June 4).

He cannot understand “why only two of them voted to exclude lower quality foods from our imports”.

Unfortunately the notion that foods imported from the USA are inferior to UK foods is part of a misguided protectionist move to protect British farmers.

Central to this argument and appealing to emotions is the image of oft-invoked chlorine-washed chicken.

Chlorine has a poor image since it was used as a poison gas in World War 1.

There is, in fact, no evidence that there is anything wrong with chlorine-washed chicken.

After all, we put chlorine in tap water and swimming pools to make them safe and nobody claims adverse effects there.

Moreover, the EU’s own Food Safety Authority declared that there was no evidence of adverse effects from chlorine residues.

The EU banned chlorine-washed chicken nevertheless.

However, the evidence is that campylobacter and salmonella infections are actually significantly lower in the US than in Britain.

Cumbrian farmers would be better served by exporting lamb to the US, which is one of the world’s largest lamb importers but currently takes none from the UK.

In order to access these US markets some reciprocal deals must be made.

Kent Brooks