USDA Gives Green Light to Ship Chicken from USA to China for Process, Then Back to US

CHONBURI, THAILAND-JULY 9: Chicken breasts get sorted at the Thai Poultry Group(TPG) chicken processing and slaughtering factory July 9, 2005 in Chonburi, Thailand. The factory has 1,200 employees able to deal with 10,000 birds per hour at full capacity,however since Bird Flu the processing plant has had to cut its production down almost 40%. Thai Poultry Group exports to European Union, Japan, Middle East, Hong Kong and Korea. Delegates at a recent Bird Flu conference in Malaysia have come up with a plan to try and tackle the disease before it spreads further from human to human. (photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

U.S. Department of Agriculture gave a green light to 4 chicken processing plants. So, the chicken will be raised and slaughtered in U.S and then they will be exported to China. In China, they will be processed and shipped back to the U.S. where they will be sold on grocery shelves. What’s even worse, the imported poultry will not need an origin label.

Thousands of dead pigs were found in the waters of Shanghai, In China this year alone, rat meat was distributed off as pork in fresh meat markets around the U.S.

In the beginning, the chickens will be slaughtered in the U.S.A. or another country that has permitted to export slaughtered chicken to the U.S., and then delivered to China for processing and re-export. The problem is that, according to the New York Times, no USDA inspectors will be existent in the Chinese processing plants (in the past, China has never been permitted to export chicken to the United States), therefore offering customers no declarations where the processed chickens remained in fact slaughtered. Even worse, due to the fact that the chicken will be processed, the USDA will not have point-of-origin labeling. It means that customers will not have a chance to say if those frozen chicken nuggets in the supermarkets were processed in China or in the U.S.

A similar process is currently being used for U.S. seafood.

According to the Seattle Times, locally caught Dungeness crab and Pacific salmon are being processed in China and re-exported to the U.S. due to the fact that of significant cost savings.

The creator of Trident, Charles Bundrant, who ships more than thirty million pounds of its 1.2 billion pounds to China for processing every year, says that there are thirty-six pin bones in a salmon and the best way to remove them is by hand. He adds that something that would cost us 1 dollar per pound labor, but they get it provided for 20 cents in China.

What exactly was the USDA thinking when it agreed to sign-off on Chinese-processed chicken exports for people? Probably not the best interest of American consumers. U.S. poultry and beef producers have long searched for to have the controls lifted in hope of motivating Beijing to respond and open its big market to more U.S. meat exports (U.S. beef is currently forbidden for import into China). It’s a sensible goal and one that the USDA should pursue– just not at the cost of a safe U.S. food supply.

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