Bush's legs are a common nickname for chicken legs imported from the United States in the post-Soviet space. The name appeared in 1990, when a trade agreement was signed between Mikhail Gorbachev and George W. Bush on the supply of frozen chicken legs to Russia. Since in those days Soviet counters were practically empty, "Bush's legs" were very popular.
Most Americans prefer white meat chicken. This fact is responsible for the low prices for exported chicken, since they are offset by the cost of lean breasts sold on the domestic market, which in the United States is about 3-5 times higher than in Russia.
The United States is the largest supplier of chicken to Russia. In 2006, only 55% of all chicken sold was grown in Russia, 35% were imported from the United States, 6% from Brazil, and 4% from other countries, mainly European. In 2005, an agreement was signed between the Russian government and the US government, according to which, by 2009, American suppliers own 74% of quotas for imports of chicken and every year supplies should grow by 40 thousand tons.
The supply of American chicken is used by both sides as a lever of political pressure. When salmonella bacteria were found in American chicken in 2002, the importation of Bush's legs into Russia was banned. In response to the termination of imports of chicken, the American side threatened to increase duties on steel imports and not cancel the discriminatory Jackson-Vanik amendment. A month later, the import ban was lifted.
It is widely believed that "Bush's legs" are harmful to health, as antibiotics and hormones used in poultry farming are concentrated in the limbs. However, the use of hormones in poultry farming has been legally prohibited in the United States since 1972, and drugs that are allowed, including in Russia, are used to prevent bird diseases. As a consequence of the use of antibiotics, people who often use Bush's legs may have a decrease in immunity and allergic reactions; also consumption is not recommended for children. Chlorine is used in poultry meat production in the United States, and the legal concentration of chlorine is 20-50 ppm. Manufacturers consider chlorination with weak solutions acceptable and not harmful to human health, comparing it with the addition of chlorine to drinking water. This is done for disinfection purposes.
Americans argue that US poultry quality control is one of the toughest in the world. By law, every chicken produced is tested at least four times. However, it is noteworthy that the embargo on the import of chlorine-treated chicken has been in effect in the European Union since 1997.