Why Did the Chicken Cross the Ocean to China?

chickensWhy did the chicken cross the road…err… ocean to China? Let’s ask the United States Department of Agriculture, shall we?

Some of you may already know that the USDA has agreed to allow American raw homegrown chickens to travel halfway around the world to China for processing before returning to the U.S. for retail consumption. Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Let’s see, raw chickens are shipped all the way to China for processing. Afterwards, the processed poultry products bundled from separate production plants are exported back to the U.S. sans country-of-origin labeling. A 14,000-mile round trip. Make any sense?

Given China’s spotty record for food safety, and the absence of on-site USDA inspectors, many consumers are rightfully concerned with the quality of the chicken. Furthermore, the lack of country-of-origin label also makes it impossible for consumers to identify where the chicken is coming from. So, how will consumers know that the processed chicken exported back to the U.S. is the same chicken that was originally sent to China?

The issue is linked to a U.S. -China trade pact made in 2003 when mad cow disease was discovered in Washington State and China banned American beef. The chicken processing deal is a seductive bid to get China to lift its U.S. beef ban. That would mean more American beef to China. No surprise, then, if we eventually might see Chinese bred chicken imported into the U.S. in the near future.

The HCKMEG rule: always look at the package of any food you are buying.

 

Sources:
http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/house-votes-to-repeal-country-of-origin-labeling-for-meat/#.VgDCTn3jXIU
http://ecowatch.com/2015/07/14/china-chicken-export-import-deal/
http://munchies.vice.com/articles/cheap-chinese-chicken-might-be-coming-to-school-lunch-programs
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/09/dont-be-chicken-chinese-meat-import-now-usda-approved/

 

Photo Credits:
Photo By Paul White via StockPholio.com

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