January 16, 2018

Food & Water Watch Questions USDA After Dioxin-Contaminated Chicken Recalled

Raw Chicken BreastConsumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch called on the USDA to answer questions about gaps in the government’s import system after 200,000 pounds of chicken imported from Chile was recalled for dioxin contamination over the weekend.

They would like to know when the government learned of the problem, since there was a lag issuing the press release, and if port-of-entry inspection procedures played a role in identifying the problem. Since there was a 2012 audit of the Chilean food safety system that indicated staff needed training on dioxin contamination, how long has this been an issue? Finally, why was a press release issued, instead of a recall or a public health alert? Dioxin is a highly toxic chemical and can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, and interfere with hormones.

FSIS gave Chile a tentative “equivalency determination” early in 2007, meaning their food safety inspection programs are considered equal to the USDA’s. But later that year, they extended the comment period when a comment on the proposal reported a deficiency that FSIS found in its onsite audit of Chile’s inspection system.

In addition, there are 15 Import Alerts posted by the FDA on different food products from Chile. The problems range from pesticide contamination on fruit to seafood containing high levels of methyl mercury and improperly processed canned foods.

Unfortunately, Chile is party of the closed-door trade negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would increase the amount of food imported into the U.S. Some consumer groups, such as Food & Water Watch, believe that this agreement undermines food safety laws, privatizes meat inspection, and prevents labeling of GMO foods.

Comments

  1. USDA you are not doing your damn job !! wake up .

  2. What are some of the products containing chicken imported from Chile?

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