October 19, 2018

Senator Questions USDA About Safety of Meats from China

Last week, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) questioned the USDA over the safety of meats imported to the U.S. from China and the adequacy of the food safety inspection program in that country. Earlier this month the USDA announced that meats processed in Chinese facilities will be allowed into American markets with no label indicating where they were processed.

cooked chickenBrown said in a statement, “given the well-documented shortcoming of the Chinese food safety system, we shouldn’t allow unmarked meat into our markets that is processed in Chinese facilities that are not subject to food safety inspections. This action could endanger the health and safety of American consumers and potentially undermines confidencee in our nation’s food safety standards.”

The equivalency standard that was granted to Chinese poultry processors requires no USDA inspector in those facilities. The letter mentions food safety debacles in China, including tainted baby formula that caused illness and infant deaths in that country, and the recall of Chinese poultry-based pet treats that have sickened hundreds of pets in the U.S.

The Senator asks several questions in the letter: when will the first Chinese-processed poultry shipments reach the U.S.; what steps can the USDA take to ensure that American consumers are given information about supply chain safety; and if USDA has requested that its inspectors can be stationed in the poultry facilities in China. He ends by stating that “American consumers deserve to be fully informed of their product choices and should be afforded every opportunity to buy quality, American-sourced food products that support U.S. farmers and U.S.-based employment.”


  1. Mike Vaupel says:

    Any imported meat product coming into the US has to have a Mark of Inspection from the exporting country on the packaging. Why should China be exempt? I doubt that their meat inspection system is equivilent to that of the US.

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