Chinese Chicken Ban Proposed By Food Safety Advocates

A Chinese chicken ban petition was recently posted on Change.org and is rapidly gaining signatures. Concerns that chicken from China could soon make its way into the American food supply sparked the movement, which has more than 250,000 signatures. Last year the US Department of Agriculture announced that chicken processed in China would be allowed to be sold in the United States.

The Chinese chicken ban organizers refer to themselves simply as “three concerned moms and food safety advocates.” The women also stated that they are hoping that the Change.org petition will prompt both Congress and the USDA to ban poultry processed in China from public school menus and prevent the meat from ever making it to the American market.

The Philippines recently banned Chinese chicken over fears that the “highly pathogenic “avian influenza (bird flu), HPAI, was present in the poultry. The ban was enacted after evidence reportedly revealed that food safety failures have occurred multiple times. The food security incidents include dangerous levels of mercury being found in baby formula, rat meat sold as lamb, and the discovery of thousands of diseased pig carcasses in the Huangpu River.

Dr. Barbara Kowalyck, one of the Chinese chicken petition organizers, said:

I know first-hand the devastating impact of a breakdown in the food safety system. China has had numerous problems with food safety, and it is clear that, as of now, they do not have a robust food safety system. Importing poultry that has been processed in China is risky, and it’s a risk we don’t have to take and should not be forced to take. Food safety should never be taken for granted – especially when our children are involved.

In 2001 Dr. Kowalyck’s toddler son died from complications related to an E. coli infection. In her position as a faculty members at North Carolina State University, she has worked tirelessly on the food safety front and co-founded the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention. She also serves on the advisory board for the Health Policy Institute’s Produce Safety Project at Georgetown University and has been a member of the USDA National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods.

Bettina Siegel, the operator of The Lunch Tray blog, is also an organizer of the petition to ban Chinese chicken. In 2012 she was successful in her campaign to have “pink slime” or lean, finely textured beef prohibited from the USDA School Lunch Program. Nancy Huehnergarth, the final Change.org petition organizer, is a National Food Policy consultant.

The deadly avian influenza virus may be spreading between people, according to a report by Off The Grid News. Researchers believe that a woman in China caught the bird flu, or H7N9 virus, from her father and not from poultry. Both the woman and her father died from the disease. The woman, just 32 years old and reported to be healthy, had no contact with poultry. Instead, her only known exposure to the disease was visiting her mortally ill father in the hospital. The father made regular visits to a live poultry market.

Excerpt from the Change.org. Chinese chicken ban petition:

We urge Congress, President Obama, and his administration to stop chicken from, or processed in, China from reaching our supermarkets and the meals we feed our school children by: (1) Ensuring that Chinese-processed chicken is not included in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program; and (2) Preventing funds from being used to implement any rule that would allow poultry raised or slaughtered in China to be exported to the United States.”

New signatures on the Chinese chicken ban are emailed to USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tim Vilsack, President Obama, and Representatives Sam Farr and Robert Aderholt, as well as Senators Mark Pryor and Roy Blunt.

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