July 16, 2018

Chinese Meat Plant Implicated in Food Safety Scandal

According to Food & Water Watch, Shanghai Husi Foods Company, a meat plant in China, is implicated in a Chinese food safety scandal. That plant passed USDA audits in 2004 and 2010. This is a problem because last year the USDA decided to let chicken processed in China be exported to the United States.

Chicken carcass on lineFood & Water Watch has sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, asking him to stop all activities that would “pave the way for China to export their poultry products to the U.S.”  Shanghai Husi Foods sold expired meat and poultry products to Chinese fast food restaurants and exported some of those foods to Japan.

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch said in a statement, “it has been nearly a decade since China made its initial request to send its poultry products to the U.S. and it still cannot get its act together. Now, we have this scandal involving a subsidiary of a U.S. poultry processor that sold rotten poultry meat to fast food restaurants in China. Unless the USDA reverses course, food from this processor could land on our plates in the not too distant future.”

The USDA adopted a rule in 2006 that grated China equivalency status to export processed poultry products to this country provided that the raw poultry was from “approved sources”. The only “approved sources” at that time were the U.S. and Canada. But those two audits were to establish a basis for equivalency.

Congress has blocked the importation of poultry products from China for two years, so no processed poultry products have been imported to date. But China is pressuring the USDA to let it process poultry grown in China for export to the U.S. Auditors will go to China again in September 2014 to see if they can approve plants for export.

Consume and food safety advocates are alarmed about this entire process, since another product imported from China, pet jerky treats, have been linked to the illness and death of thousands of American pets. Earlier this year, Food Sentry may have solved the mystery of the jerky pet treats by postulating that highly toxic hexavalent chromium, of “Erin Brockovich” fame, may be the problem with those products. China’s tanning industry, which produces that chemical, hydrolyzes leather scrap and sells it as animal food. Studies have shown that hexavalent chromium will transfer from that scrap to poultry.

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