USDA to allow China to process American chickens, then ship them back to the USA
Here's a potential food-safety issue that you may want to be aware of. The USDA has agreed to let chicken processing plants in China process American-raised chickens, then ship the chickens back to the USA to be sold to consumers. From Yahoo:
"Chinese chicken" will soon have a whole new meaning, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently gave the green-light to four chicken processing plants in China, allowing chicken raised and slaughtered in the U.S. to be exported to China for processing, and then shipped back to the U.S. and sold on grocery shelves here.
While the logistics are hard to imagine-if we can't safely leave chicken out for the length of a family picnic, how can it be shipped halfway around the world and back with no ill effects?-the USDA is doing its best to reassure both chicken farmers and consumers that the process is 100-percent safe.
"The Food Safety and Inspection Service's number-one priority is always food safety," Perkins says. In the official memo, the FSIS says that "all outstanding issues have been resolved"-a pretty big promise considering that in the past year alone China has made news for passing off rat meat as mutton, selling sausages filled with maggots, inexplicably finding thousands of dead pigs floating in the waters of Shanghai, and even having an outbreak of the H7N9 bird flu in live poultry.
However, Perkins adds that while there will be increased testing on the chicken before re-entering the U.S., they will not be doing any on-site monitoring or testing in China, a fact that Rep. Rosa De Lauro (D-Conn.) said in a statement is "deeply worrisome" for American consumers.
In addition to the concerns that this decision could open the door for even more unsafe practices, no country-of-origin labels are required under the new rules, so consumers won't know where their bird is coming from.
Almost ten years ago, after many issues with beef processing and safety in the news, I made the decision to only buy grass-fed or organic beef for our family -- both of which are held to a different standard than regular beef. Yes, it's much more expensive, so it's a treat when we buy it. But food safety is something I feel very strongly about.
Reading this article gave me a sick feeling -- especially the part about not having to notify consumers where the chicken was processed. I do think that the companies who keep their processing in America should be proudly stating that all over the package -- it will likely result in bigger sales for those brands and farms!
Thanks to Renee for sharing this article.