You gotta love those late Friday news dumps, especially when the Friday is one before a long weekend holiday. If you don’t already read the labels of your groceries to check for the country of origin, this story is likely to change that.
From Bloomberg.com on August 30, 2013:
Would you willingly eat chicken nuggets processed in a country that has no intention of meeting U.S. food-safety standards? Most Americans likely wouldn’t.
That may explain why the U.S. Department of Agriculture waited until Friday — the day before a long holiday weekend — to announce that it had ended a ban on Chinese chicken imports by approving four Chinese poultry processors to ship processed (“heat-treated/cooked“) chicken to the U.S. The report on the approved poultry plants noted that the audit set out to “to determine whether the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) food safety system governing poultry processing remains equivalent to that of the United States (U.S.), with the ability to produce products that are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled.” Needless to say, the Chinese plants passed.
Reading up on this, there’s no start date or list of companies willing to participate in this import/export exchange. The initial chickens will be exported to China from the US, Canada, or other countries we already consider chicken safe for consumption. That doesn’t mean that will remain the way things work in the long haul. A company who has a single-track focus on profits won’t pay extra for shipping chickens there for processing any longer than necessary before switching to locally sourced poultry.
Our government, in its infinite wisdom (extreme tongue-in-cheek), has decided that we should be able to eat chicken that’s been processed in China. This is the same China that exported tainted dog treats made from chicken to the US. This is the same China that added melamine to the domestic milk supply. I could continue to list the different scandals involving Chinese food sources, but I’d be up two days typing this.
China has an awful record when it comes to food safety, and the idiots at the USDA have decided to allow them to process food for our consumption without having any USDA inspectors present to ensure food quality. Some people think we have too many regulations that are holding businesses back. We’re about to see what less regulations taste like. I don’t know who had the bright idea to green light such an endeavor as this, but you best believe that I won’t buy another processed chicken product that’s sold here in the US again. According to USDA regulations, any food that’s processed does not require the point-of-origin to be labeled.
I’m already cautious about what I feed my family and myself. Now, that it seems that I can’t even trust the regulators to keep us safe, I think I will begin to look for a large plot of land where I can raise my own food. I don’t want the stress and worry about whether my next meal will give me explosive diarrhea or not. I hope you have your insurance card ready because our USDA will ensure that you get to use it.
- Don’t Trust a Chicken Nugget That’s Visited China – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Soon to Be Made in China: Your Chicken Nuggets (newser.com)
- The Future of U.S.-China Economic Relations: Lots of Food Fights (cato.org)