USDA Approves China To Process Chicken For U.S. Consumption, Food Safety Experts Worried

In the past, the People’s Republic of China has been in the news for certain business methods utilized mostly to cut corners on costs. With different rules and regulations (or lack of), certain things China sees as acceptable are technically very harmful.

The Inquisitr previously reported that they produced toys for American kids, but made them toxic by using lead paint. Sometimes it isn’t the product that receives corner-cuts, but the production itself, as China is also known for using slave labor.

Despite all the negativity surrounding China, they are considered the top partner in trade for the U.S. With that in mind, there are reports coming in that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently approved China to process chicken for American consumption, which has food safety experts worried.

China is notorious for their poor standards pertaining to the growing, raising, and processing of their food, including chickens.

According to a report issued by the official website for the USDA and brought to the public through Living Traditionally, four chicken processing plants in China have been given the green light to process U.S.-raised chicken and ship it back to our country for distributive sale in groceries. Also, the processed poultry will not require a country-of-origin label and U.S. inspectors won’t be on site at Chinese processing plants. With China’s history for the avian influenza and food-borne illnesses, many food health experts are worried. Tom Super, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council, made a recent statement in the Houston Chronicle about the USDA’s decision.

“Economically, it doesn’t make much sense. Think about it: A Chinese company would have to purchase frozen chicken in the U.S., pay to ship it 7,000 miles, unload it, transport it to a processing plant, unpack it, cut it up, process/cook it, freeze it, repack it, transport it back to a port, then ship it another 7,000 miles. I don’t know how anyone could make a profit doing that.”

What Tom Super doesn’t take into account is the fact that the USDA is allowing this so U.S. companies could cut cost through outsourcing. To put this all into perspective, American poultry processors are paid roughly $11. In China, the same worker makes significantly less at the USD average of $1 to $2. As a matter of fact, this tactic is already being done for U.S. seafood, specifically domestically-caught Pacific salmon and Dungeness crab, as reported by the Seattle Times.

Right now, food safety enthusiasts and news sites are spreading awareness of the pending USDA agreement. They hope to stop the Chinese-processed chicken from ever reaching supermarkets and school lunchrooms. In that regard, do you side with the people whom are concerned, or do you think they’re overreacting?

[Images via Bing]