Why did the Chicken Cross the…Pacific?
It seems like year after year the same ol battle wages on about whether or not the U.S. should keep a ban on importing chicken from China. And the same players are behind the effort this year (who else but Big Ag?), working hard to pressure the Obama administration and Congress to lift the ban.
While visiting Chinese facilities a few years ago, U.S. inspectors found defective equipment, lack of employee hygiene, unsanitary conditions, and an absence of regulations requiring pre-shipment testing for Salmonella, E. coli and other contaminants. And don’t forget about the hundreds of other products from China, ranging from seafood to cosmetics, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration blocked at the border in recent years because they contained dangerous substances or violated other rules.
At least we have U.S. chicken to fall back on, right? But there’s still work to be done in this country to make sure we have safe chicken to eat. cites poultry as the most commonly identified source of food poisoning in the U.S. in 2006. And that’s with a food safety net.
So, why would we bring in product from somewhere like China, where food safety problems are widespread and even the government admits it doesn’t have control? The truth behind the push to “ban the ban” is coming from the meat industry because they want to get China to open its markets to U.S. beef and pork.
Later this week, the House appropriations committee will decide whether or not to keep a provision in the USDA budget that prohibits the agency from allowing processed poultry products from China to enter the United States.
Well keep you posted on what they decide. But in the meantime, what do you think? Should we keep the ban on Chinese chicken or “ban the ban”?