Everyone in America will be purchasing processed chicken nuggets & more, right from China, and with no USDA inspectors in the plants. Not joking.
The fake meat scandal made the USDA come to a scary decision. The ban on processed chicken imports from China was scrapped. Another scary part of this, is that those products will be sold throughout the United States with no “country-of-origin” label. In just this year, dead pigs were found in the waters of Shanghai, rat meat was labeled as mutton, and there was a massive outbreak in the live fowl in the fresh meat market. In all of this, it makes no sense for the USDA to approve food from out of China.
The rules are that the chicken have to be slaughtered in the United states (or any other nation that deems it legal to slaughter chickens and export them to the U.S.), and then shipped shipped to China for processing and re-export. That is great news. What is so bad, is that the New York Times states that there will be no USDA inspector present in the Chinese processing plants (even though China hasn’t ever been permitted to export chicken to the United States), therefore it offers consumers no absolute guarantee where the processed chicken were slaughtered.
Whats even worse, is that the processed chickens won’t be required to have a point-of-origin label. Currently, under USDA rules, cooked foods are not subject to origin labeling. Consumers will not know where the chicken nuggets in the freezers of your supermarket, were processed here in America or in China.
Similarly, U.S. seafood is being processed the same as chicken. The Seattle Times says that domestically caught Pacific Salmon and Dungeness crab are processed in China, then shipped to the U.S. to save money. “There are 36 pin bones in a salmon and the best way to remove them is by hand,” said Charles Bundrant, founder of Trident, which ships about 30 million pounds of its 1.2 billion-pound annual harvest to China for processing. “Something that would cost us $1 per pound labor here, they get it done for 20 cents in China.”
The USDA wasn’t thinking when they chose to end the ban on processed chicken exports from China. It isn’t working out for American consumers. Producers in the U.S. beef and poultry have fought to have restrictions lifted to encourage China to open its large meat market to U.S. exports (Beef from the U.S. is currently banned from being imported into China). It’s a good goal that the USDA should follow through with, and not at the expense of a healthy U.S. food supply.
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