June 25, 2018

USDA Says Jury Still Out on Poultry Slaughtered in China

usdaartSen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has hit the panic button on poultry from China too early, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA- FSIS). Poultry slaughtered in China is not currently allowed for sale in the U.S., but if it were to receive approval it would meet U.S. food safety standards, the agency said in a rare clarification issued this weekend in response to Schumer’s comments.

Poultry slaughtered in China is not currently allowed for sale in the U.S. But, said Schumer on Sunday, the USDA is getting ready to approve it.

In 2010, China asked the USDA to review its poultry slaughter methods. FSIS must review such requests from foreign countries. But, in this case, the agency has not finalized the audit or released preliminary results. ¬†“If the audit reveals food safety issues with China’s poultry slaughter system, then China will be required to take corrective actions and then be audited again in order for the process to continue,” the agency said in its clarification.

“USDA has not found China’s poultry slaughter system to be equivalent and therefore poultry slaughtered in China is not allowed to be imported to the United States. The U.S. food supply is among the safest in the world, and the Food Safety Inspection Service is dedicated to maintaining that status.”

Schumer’s concern is that while plants and processing methods may be deemed safe by the USDA, “lax enforcement going forward could expose U.S. consumers to serious risk of food borne illness, especially given the appallingly poor food-safety track record of Chinese food products.”

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