Chinese-Processed Chicken in School Food: VICTORY!

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 9.37.35 AMIn January of this year, I and fellow food advocate Nancy Hueherngarth launched a Change.org petition seeking to prevent the inclusion of Chinese-processed poultry products in school meals due to our serious concerns about China’s food safety record.  To date, almost 330,000 concerned people have joined us in this effort by signing the petition.

We are so pleased to tell you that this morning President Obama signed into law the fiscal year 2015 omnibus spending bill containing language which will prevent the use of Chinese-processed chicken in school food and other child nutrition programs.  Accordingly, we are declaring victory on the petition and we’ll be sending out a letter to all of our supporters shortly.

In the meantime, we want to thank Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who introduced the amendment in the House, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, who co-sponsored it, as well as Food & Water Watch and the Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention. These individuals and organizations have worked tirelessly for years to prevent the importation of Chinese chicken and Chinese-processed poultry products.

To continue to keep Chinese-processed chicken out of school meals and other federal child nutrition programs, this provision will need to appear in subsequent annual appropriations bills, or it will need to be included in the five-year child nutrition reauthorization bill in 2015. Our hope is that it will be included in the latter, and if you signed our petition, we may again contact you if your support is needed to help make that happen.

Also, it’s important to remember that food manufacturers may still choose to include Chinese-processed chicken in their products and the labels on those products may not indicate where the processing occurred. If we learn of any food companies taking advantage of Chinese poultry processing, and if you signed our petition, you’ll receive an immediate update from me and Nancy.

In the meantime, please know that our voices were heard by Congress.  Thank you all for your support!

 

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Our Open Letter to Congress re: Chinese-Processed Chicken

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 7.38.20 AMFor those of you following this issue, I wanted to let you know that Nancy Huehnergarth and I now have an open letter to Congress in The Hill, a widely read publication on Capitol Hill.  The text of that letter may be found here, and it asks Congress to include language in any 2015 appropriations bill which would bar federal funding of Chinese-processed chicken in school meals.

We’ll keep you posted of further developments and, if you haven’t already done so, you can sign and share our petition here.

Thanks, all!

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Chicken Processed in China: One Step Closer to American School Lunch Trays

In August, 2013, the USDA made the controversial announcement that it will allow four Chinese facilities to process poultry raised in the U.S., Canada or Chile and then export that cooked chicken back to the United States.  This development was deeply troubling to many advocates due to China’s terrible food safety record and the fact that (by the admission of one of its own officials) China’s food regulatory system is not yet on par with that of other developed nations.

chickenheadlines

China was required to provide the USDA with paperwork certifying those four facilities and the USDA announced last week that this step has taken place.  Now U.S. companies may begin at any time to use China for their poultry processing and/or include Chinese-processed chicken in products like soups, frozen entrees, chicken nuggets and more.

While some reports have indicated that American companies won’t take advantage of this arrangement due to the 14,000-mile round trip involved, my colleague Nancy Huehnergarth and I reported last March in Food Safety News that Chinese processing has already proven quite economical for American seafood suppliers which already ship salmon and crab to China for filleting and de-shelling to take advantage of China’s lower labor costs.  Our research finds the same labor cost differential for poultry workers:  around $11 per hour for American poultry workers versus only $1-2 per hour for their Chinese counterparts.  There is no reason to believe, therefore, that some U.S. companies will not take advantage of this significant cost savings.

Consumers who wish to avoid Chinese-processed chicken are out of luck, since companies will not be required to label where the processing took place if the processed chicken is further processed in this country – in other words, added to foods like soups, frozen entrees or chicken nuggets.  Worse still, as revealed in an exclusive Lunch Tray report last year, Chinese-processed chicken can easily appear on school lunch trays, despite the USDA’s initial statement to the contrary.  That means we may be exposing an especially vulnerable population — children — to potential food safety risks.

How real are those risks?   China’s recent food safety record includes infamous cases of widespread adulteration, such as the melamine-tainted milk powder that sickened 300,000 children, or the more than $1 million worth of rat and other small mammal meat sold to Chinese consumers as lamb. And poultry in particular has been at the center of recent food safety scandals in China, as the New York Times reported last week:

Earlier this year, a major meat supplier to McDonald’s got caught up in a food scandal after a Chinese television station broadcast video showing workers in its Shanghai plant doctoring labels on chicken and beef products and scooping up meat that had fallen on the ground and putting it back on conveyor belts for processing. The country has also had frequent outbreaks of deadly avian influenza, and the Food and Drug Administration attributed the deaths of more than 500 dogs and some cats to chicken jerky treats from China.

Here are some other troubling facts:

  • The USDA’s last audit of the four Chinese facilities in question was back in March, 2013 – almost two years ago — which means we are now relying exclusively on the Chinese government’s assurances that nothing has changed at those plants in the interim.
  • These four plants will not have on-site USDA inspectors to ensure that food safety standards are met on a regular basis.
  • Allowing China to process our chicken is widely viewed as just the first step toward allowing that country to import into the U.S. chickens raised and slaughtered in China.  This may pose an even greater food safety risk due to widespread water and soil contamination in China.

So what can we do now?

Language is currently under consideration in Congress for inclusion in the 2015 spending bill which would prevent the federal funding of Chinese-processed chicken for school meals or other child nutrition programs.  We can support the inclusion of this language in three simple ways:

  • First, if you haven’t already done so, please SIGN and SHARE our Change.org petition, joining over 327,000 concerned citizens who have already signed.
  • Second, if you’re a Twitter user, just click this link to automatically create this tweet to members of the Appropriations Committee:

.@senatorbarb @senshelby @nitalowey @rephalrogers 327K say NO to Chinese-processed chicken! http://chn.ge/1oGyl6x Support Sec. 742 HR 4800 

  • Third, please take a moment to tell your Congressional representatives how you feel about this issue.  To find out the names, phone numbers and emails of your representatives, just enter your zip code in this link.  Here is sample text for your email, or feel free to use your own words to express your concern.

Thank you for your support!

– Bettina and Nancy

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Girl Scouts Under Fire for Lending Name to Sugary Drinks

In recent years, the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) has come under fire for a variety of issues related to the organization’s annual cookie sales.  Among other things, parents, bloggers and food advocates have questioned the cookies’ inclusion of trans fats and eco-unfriendly palm oil, as well as the organization’s lame attempt last year to pass off their (now discontinued) Mango Cremes as a substitute for real fruit.  (The latter campaign inspired me to write “A Girl Scout Cookie Gets ‘Healthwashed,’ and Some Musings About Nutritionism and Our Kids.”)

girl scout beverage nestleBut last week GSUSA ruffled even more feathers when Nestlé announced a new line of “limited-edition Nesquik Girl Scout Cookie Beverages,” flavored to taste like Thin Mints and other Girl Scout cookies.  This isn’t the first licensing deal between the Girl Scouts and Nestlé – there’s also a series of Girl Scout-branded chocolate bars on the market – but given the growing concern over the role of sugar-sweetened beverages as a primary driver of childhood obesity and disease, for some critics this was the last straw.

Laurie David, co-producer of Fed Up, a documentary focusing on the prevalence of sugar in our food supply, had a scathing piece about the beverages in yesterday’s HuffPo.  After noting that the drinks contain up to 48 grams of sugar per bottle — three to four times the amount of sugar a child can safely consume each day — David writes:

Girl Scout president Anna M. Chavez, the first Latina woman to lead this organization of more than 3.2 million girls and adults, surely has heard about the dramatic rise in kids getting adult-type 2 diabetes, a phenomenon virtually unheard of a decade ago–perhaps in conversation with the country’s leading childhood obesity advocate AND former Girl Scout Michele Obama before she addressed the organization in honor of its one hundredth anniversary? Given the sad fact that Hispanic kids are at even greater risk of diabetes (they are marketed more to than their white counterparts), Chavez’s decision to use the Girl Scout brand to help promote the very thing that’s making them sick is truly baffling.

Now Monica Serratos, a mother of four and a Girl Scout troop leader, has just launched a Change.org petition asking GSUSA to end the beverage partnership with Nestlé.  She posted the petition on TLT’s Facebook page this morning and I’m glad to share it here with you.

Ironically enough, GSUSA actually refers to itself as “the leading authority on girls’ healthy development,” and its website offers numerous fact sheets and reports relating to childhood obesity.  Yet this purported focus on “healthy development” doesn’t seem to extend to the group’s own fundraising tactics.  In that regard, the Girl Scouts seems no different from many schools and PTAs around the country, which likely care about kids’ health but still inevitably take the easiest path for raising revenue: selling junk food.

On that note, let me remind everyone of a Tweetchat starting in just a few hours on healthy school fundraising, hosted by Moms Rising and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.  It will take place between 1-2pm EST, using the hashtag #FoodFri.

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 8,600 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also join almost 5,000 TLT followers on Twitter, see my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my free video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”

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Politico Spotlights the Power of Consumer Food Petitions

Just FYI, this weekend’s lead story on Politico, “Food Fight: Consumers Revolt Online,” discusses the ever-growing impact of online petitions in changing our food supply.

The story features my successful Change.org petition in 2012 regarding the use of lean, finely textured beef (aka “pink slime”) in school food, and goes on to discuss subsequent petition campaigns on food-related issues.  The story is also slated to appear in Monday’s print version of the magazine.

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 8,600 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also join almost 5,000 TLT followers on Twitter, see my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my free video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”

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Some Promising Developments re: Chinese-Processed Chicken

As many of you know, in January of this year I, along with Nancy Huehnergarth and Barbara Kowalcyk, launched a Change.org petition seeking to keep Chinese-processed chicken out of school meals and to prevent China from eventually shipping to the United States its own raw, slaughtered poultry.

I became involved in this campaign last August, after stumbling upon a serious misrepresentation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture about this issue.  After approving four plants in China for the processing of U.S.-raised chickens, the USDA’s website reassured parents that such chicken would not appear in school meals.  But after my own investigation, taken at the behest of two Lunch Tray readers, it became clear that such chicken could easily be fed to our school children.  (As a result of my post, USDA retracted its statement and modified its website.)  In the process, I learned a great deal about the alarming food safety lapses in China, as well as the ways in which the terrible degradation of its environment could affect food grown and raised in that country, and I became motivated to take action.

Since the launch of the petition, over 323,000 people have joined our cause.  (To put this in perspective, my 2012 Change.org petition regarding the use of lean, finely textured beef, aka “pink slime,” in school meals, also directed at USDA, succeeded after receiving around 200,000 signatures.)

Even more importantly, action is now being taken in Congress to protect school kids, consumers and pets against the potential hazards of Chinese-processed chicken.

Late last month, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), a longtime food safety advocate and opponent of Chinese poultry imports, was able to get an amendment into the House appropriations bill, with no Republican opposition, banning the use Chinese-processed chicken in school meals.  Indeed, Republican Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL), chairman of the House agricultural appropriations subcommittee, was quoted as saying at the time:

“This is something we all agree on, and, just to prove to you that I am not one to hurt our school kids, I accept it.  I have the best intentions for our kids to eat healthy.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), is sounding the alarm about Chinese poultry in the Senate.  Focusing primarily on the disturbing number of pet deaths and illnesses (including illnesses in three humans) from the consumption of Chinese pet treats, Brown is urging the Obama Administration to investigate Chinese food processing standards and plans to introduce an amendment  the 2015 agriculture appropriations bill to “ensure Congress is given greater information on the Administration’s efforts to investigate the safety of China’s processing facilities.”  You can read more about Brown’s efforts here.

In addition, Brown, along with Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), held a Congressional hearing earlier this week to further express their concern about the safety of processed chicken and pet treats imported from China.  My co-petitioner Nancy Huehnergarth attended the hearing and has an excellent recap of the issues discussed

Nancy has also been engaged for several weeks in a fascinating email exchange with a woman she calls “Susan,” an American ex-pat who has lived in China for the past fifteen years.  Susan has been describing what day-to-day life is like in China from a food safety perspective, and this week Nancy shared her stomach-churning account in a post on The Hill blog (“Chinese Food Safety Is Worse Than You Think.”)

All of these developments are encouraging and your voices have helped to bring them about.  So if you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to sign and share our petition.  Thank you!

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join almost 8,500 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also join almost 5,000 TLT followers on Twitter, see my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my free video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”

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Simple Steps to Help #SaveSchoolLunch!

As I wrote here last week, and as I’ve been telling you for the last few months, many of the important school food reforms of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act are currently at risk of being rolled back.  We fought hard for the passage of those improved school meal standards and changing course just two years after their implementation, especially when we’re already seeing progress, would be a terrible blow to our children’s long term health.

The most immediate threat is posed by legislative efforts to include language in the pending Agriculture Appropriations bill which would weaken or remove various school food requirements.  That bill is likely to be voted upon in the House and Senate in a matter of days, so if  you care at all about healthier school food, can you please do the following?

First, please sign this Change.org petition started by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.  Then take an extra second to share it on Twitter and Facebook.  The Twitter hashtag for this effort is #SaveSchoolLunch and here are some sample tweets you can use to promote the petition:

Join me in telling Congress: school lunch is off limits. Don’t play politics with children’s health. http://chn.ge/1ll7k1X#SaveSchoolLunch

First Congress declared pizza a vegetable…now this: http://chn.ge/1ll7k1X#SaveSchoolLunch

Please Congress: protect children’s health. Nutrition should be the standard for school lunch, not politics. http://chn.ge/1ll7k1X

If you’re a Twitter user, please also tweet your congressional representatives and tell them you oppose efforts to weaken school meal standards.  Here’s one sample tweet you can use:

Dear @ElectedOfficial (add in your senator’s or representative’s Twitter handle here), look how great school lunch can be: http://bit.ly/1sPtrCi. Don’t weaken school nutrition standards.#SaveSchoolLunch

Also, if you read this post early enough today, you can join me in listening in on a phone call with First Lady Michelle Obama and Let’s Move! Executive Director Sam Kass on protecting the gains we’ve made in school food.  Just click the invitation below to register for the call.

Thank you in advance for taking steps to #SaveSchoolLunch!  Of course I’ll keep you posted on the latest developments.

white house invite

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 8,100 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also join almost 5,000 TLT followers on Twitter, see my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my free video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”

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We’re Headed to D.C. to Fight for Food Safety! (And How You Can Help)

This past January, I and two other food advocates, Barbara Kowalcyk and Nancy Huehnergarth, launched a Change.org petition seeking to keep Chinese-processed chicken out of school lunch programs and to prevent the eventual importation of Chinese-raised and slaughtered chicken into this country, due to our concerns over China’s very poor food safety record.

Astoundingly, that petition has already garnered almost 315,000 signatures!  (To put this figure in perspective, my successful 2012 Change.org petition regarding lean, finely textured beef, aka “pink slime,” had around 225,000 signatures when USDA took action, and I closed the petition at around 259,000 signatures.)  But despite the clear public support for this cause — even with little media attention devoted to it —  the governmental officials we’re petitioning have yet to respond at all.

capitol buildingThat’s unacceptable.  So next week, Nancy, Barbara and I will be heading to Washington, D.C. to participate in a press conference and congressional briefing on April 8th to better inform the media and Congress about the serious food safety concerns related to Chinese chicken, and to increase the pressure on the petitioned parties to take action.  

I’m excited about this opportunity (and nervous!) but we need your help to make a really powerful impact next week. Here’s what you can do:

  • For those of you who have already signed and shared our petition — thank you!  If you haven’t done that, please take just a moment to do so.  It’s important that we have the highest possible signature count by April 8th.
  • If you’re a Twitter user, please click this link to automatically create a tweet addressed to the four congressional representatives on the Agricultural Appropriations subcommittee named in our petition.  If enough people send this tweet, we’ll definitely get their attention!
  • And finally, it would be great if you’d take a moment to call or email your own representatives in Congress and tell them your concerns about the safety of Chinese-processed and slaughtered chicken.  To find out the names, phone numbers and emails of your representatives, just enter your zip code in this link.  Feel free to use any of the language in our petition to help formulate your thoughts.

Thank you in advance for your support, and I’ll of course let you know how our briefing goes in D.C. next week!

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 8,000 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also join almost 4,500 TLT followers on Twitter, see my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my free video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”

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Crazy to Ship Chicken to China for Processing? It’s Already Happening to Your Seafood

The Change.org petition I launched in January with Nancy Huehnergarth and Barbara Kowalcyk, protesting the inclusion of Chinese-processed chicken in school meals, now has over 308,000 signatures.  Clearly a lot of you share our concern about that country’s terrible food safety record.

But are we creating a tempest in a teapot?  One refrain we’ve heard since launching the petition is that it just doesn’t make economic sense for any U.S. company to transport chicken a total of 14,000 miles solely to have it cooked.  For example, in a recent Houston Chronicle article about our petition, Tom Super, spokesman for the National Chicken Council, said:

“Economically, it doesn’t make much sense,” Super said. “Think about it: A Chinese company would have to purchase frozen chicken in the United States, pay to ship it 7,000 miles, unload it, transport it to a processing plant, unpack it, cut it up, process/cook it, freeze it, repack it, transport it back to a port, then ship it another 7,000 miles. I don’t know how anyone could make a profit doing that.”

A 14,000 mile round trip just to be de-boned?
We’ve just traveled 7,000 miles to be de-boned – no wonder we look so confused!

But guess what?  The exact same arrangement is already being used – and quite profitably so – by purveyors of Pacific seafood who send their salmon and crab to China for de-boning and shelling.  Yesterday, my co-petitioner Nancy Huehnergarth and I published a piece on the Huffington Post (also appearing on Food Safety News) explaining how it all works.

Please take a look at the HuffPo piece and, if you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to sign and share our petition.  Every name counts in this effort to ensure that the chicken served in school meals — and sold in our supermarkets —  meets our own country’s safety standards.

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join almost 8,000 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also join over 4,200 TLT followers on Twitter, see my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my free video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”

 

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A Lunch Tray Wednesday Buffet!

In the old days on this blog, I’d serve up a “Friday Buffet” of news tidbits that didn’t fit anywhere else.  Today I’m bringing back the Buffet to share these little goodies with you:

Update on Chicken Petition

First, I wanted to let you know that our petition regarding chicken from China is now at 305,000 signatures and continuing to grow.  The petition, and the issue of Chinese chicken generally, will be featured in the Houston Chronicle this week and I’ll share that link on Facebook and Twitter when it’s up.  I will also be writing my own opinion piece for the paper (spoiler:  I don’t like chicken from China! :-) ) and will share that, too.

Two TLT Friends Nominated for IACP Cookbook Award

TLT friends Katie Morford (Mom’s Kitchen Handbook) and ChopChop magazine were both nominated for the prestigious IACP (International Association for Culinary Professionals) award for the cookbooks they released this year.  My past review of Katie’s cookbook is here, and of ChopChop’s here.  Congratulations to both of you!

Mom Activists Unite!

Real Mom Nutrition‘s Sally Kuzemchak had a great post yesterday on food activism, big and small.  It’s a needed reminder for all of us that “activism” can mean petitions and national campaigns, but also just asking your soccer coach to eliminate junk food snacks.  And, as I said to Sally in an email, sometimes the latter is actually a lot harder than the former, because you have to be tactful with someone you know personally — and will likely see again for a long time.

Interesting Twitter Convo

On a related note, throughout the day yesterday I was engaged in an interesting discussion on Twitter with colleagues Casey Hinds, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, Michele Simon, Andy Belatti and Nancy Huehnergarth regarding this very notion of “mom activists,”as well as whether it’s OK to call someone a “mommy blogger,” whether women activists are marginalized when they highlight their personal motivations, what motivates each of us to do what we do, and more.  If you’re a Twitter follower, you might enjoy checking out our feeds from yesterday and feel free to chime in as well.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Finally, I was so honored to be named one of the “15 Most Important Moms in the Food Industry” by Elizabeth Street yesterday, in a list compiled with the help of Robyn O’Brien, noted food activist and author of The Unhealthy Truth.  Since this list also included personal heroes like Michelle Obama and Laurie David, and stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba, I’m really not quite sure how I ended up there.  But I am agitating for some sort of induction ceremony, just to be able to catch a glimpse of those awesome women in person!  :-)  Huge thanks to Robyn and Elizabeth Street for the honor.

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join almost 8,000 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also join over 4,200 TLT followers on Twitter, see my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my free video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”

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Hong Kong Halts Live Poultry Sales Due to H7N9-Infected Chinese Chicken

The details are here.

Contact with live poultry infected with H7N9 flu appears to be the main means of transmission of this disease to humans, which has affected over 200 people since last spring, killing over 50. But the CDC’s H7N9 travelers’ advisory also cautions against touching dead animals and eating undercooked meat.

chickenwidgetAnother reason, if you needed one, to sign and share our Change.org petition to prevent the importation of Chinese slaughtered and Chinese-processed poultry into our country.

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join almost 8,000 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also join over 4,000 TLT followers on Twitter, check out my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my free video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”

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Chinese Chicken Petition Passes 1/4 Million Mark

chickenwidgetExactly two weeks ago, I, along with Nancy Huehnergarth and Barbara Kowalcyk, launched a Change.org petition regarding plans to import processed and/or slaughtered chicken from China.   Over the weekend the signature count crossed the 1/4 million mark, with a current signature total (as of this writing) at 267,436.

The strong response to the petition clearly reflects consumers’ legitimate concern regarding the importation of poultry and poultry products from a country with so many well-documented food safety lapses.   I can only hope that our elected officials are listening, and I’ll of course keep you informed here of any response we may receive from them.

Thank you again to all who’ve shared and signed the petition so far!

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join almost 8,000 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also join over 4,000 TLT followers on Twitter, check out my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my free video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”

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155,000 Strong Against Chicken From China!

A word to the wise:  don’t start an online petition the same week that your dishwasher breaks and your kids convince you (a former non-dog owner) to adopt a rescue dog!  Needless to say, it’s been a little nuts in my house the past few days.

chickenheadlinesSeriously, though, I do want to apologize for going silent on The Lunch Tray this week, but I’ve been working very hard behind the scenes on the Change.org petition I launched on January 13th, along with Nancy Huehnergarth and Barbara Kowalcyk, to prevent chicken processed or slaughtered in China from reaching our supermarkets and school meals.

Amazingly, that petition now has over 155,000 signatures, with the bulk of those coming in over the holiday weekend and over 50,000 people signing just yesterday!

I want to thank all of you for taking the time to sign and share the petition, especially my fellow food bloggers who were kind enough to let their own readerships know about it.  And I have to give a special thank you to Vani Hari, aka the Food Babe, for enlisting her enthusiastic “Food Babe Army” in support of the cause.

Of course, it’s great to see this petition go viral, but the real victory will be getting our lawmakers listen to and address our concerns.  It’s my hope that with the overwhelming response this petition has received, the petitioned officials will soon engage in a meaningful dialogue with us on this issue.

I’ll of course keep you posted here.

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