We did so out of concerns over China’s deeply troubling food safety record (read about some of the sickening incidents here), concerns that were apparently shared by our almost 330,000 petition signers.
Our campaign ended in victory: thanks to the efforts of Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Food & Water Watch and many other advocates, the last two appropriations bills in Congress have expressly prohibited the use of chicken processed in China in school food and other child nutrition programs.
But what about chicken that’s not just processed in China but also raised and slaughtered there? This scenario is even more troubling from a food safety perspective: In addition to potential hygiene violations in Chinese slaughtering and processing plants, chickens raised on China’s polluted soil, air and water could well be adversely affected by that nation’s severe environmental degradation.
So far, this hasn’t been an issue because the USDA had not yet approved China’s slaughtering plants for this purpose. But yesterday, Politico‘s Morning Agriculture report said that:
The USDA on Friday moved one step closer to allowing poultry both raised and slaughtered in China to be exported to the U.S. . . . In an audit released on Friday, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said China’s food safety system for slaughtered poultry meets U.S. equivalency standards, a step toward allowing imports of poultry products from animals raised in the communist nation. The report is based on FSIS inspections of Chinese facilities that took place for more than two weeks in May 2015.
Before the arrangement is finalized, there will be a public rule-making process.
As Congresswoman DeLauro correctly noted in a statement quoted by Politico, “This move by the USDA is once again more proof that the agency is more concerned with trade than the protection of American consumers.”
I’ll keep you updated regarding any further developments.
[Hat tip to Casey Hinds for alerting me to the Politico report.]
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