Chicken shipped to the US from China which is untested by the USDA is on the rise.
The USDA has ended a ban on processed chicken being imported from China, and these products can now be sold in the U.S., without stating which country it originated in.
China has been at the centre of several food scandals this year, with thousands of dead pigs being found in the waters of Shanghai, rat meat was passed off as mutton there has been outbreaks of disease amongst live fowl in fresh meat markets.
Chickens will at first be slaughtered in the U.S. and then shipped for China for cheaper processing. But then, worryingly, according to the New York Times, there will be no USDA inspectors based in the factories in China to do any kind of testing on the processing, or the environment.
The chicken is then sent back out all over the world, including being sent back to the U.S., meaning there is a real possibility of any chicken product you buy never having been checked by the USDA or in fact, any health authority whatsoever. Because of a loophole in the USDA rules, any food that hasn’t been cooked will not require a label to say where it has come from.
U.S. seafood also operates under a similar procedure. As stated in the Seattle Times, domestically caught Pacific salmon and Dungeness crab are being processed in a similar way, in where they are shipped to China to lower costs:
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.
This move is a potential blow for the health of U.S consumers who are going to be left in the dark as to the origin of their food, all in the name of saving money for large corporations. In the U.S. beef and poultry producers have wanted the restrictions to be lifted for some time, in the hope that Beijing will reciprocate and open its market to more U.S. meat exports. The USDA should be exploring this option without the possible risk of the safety of U.S consumers.