LONDON (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to Britain has attacked what he described as a “smear” campaign against American agriculture by interests with a protectionist agenda.

Woody Johnson said in an article published in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday that U.S. food products are safe, and that scare stories about “chlorine-washed chicken” and “hormone-pumped beef” are being used to mislead the public. The comments come as Britain prepares to negotiate its own trade deals with the U.S. and other countries after Britain’s departure from the European Union set for later this month.

“You have been presented with a false choice: either stick to EU directives, or find yourselves flooded with American food of the lowest quality,” Johnson wrote. “Inflammatory and misleading terms like ‘chlorinated chicken’ and ‘hormone beef’ are deployed to cast American farming in the worst possible light. It is time the myths are called out for what they really are: a smear campaign.”

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