October 19, 2018

Congresswoman Questions USDA Equivalency of China’s Poultry Processing Plants

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) recently wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, questioning the USDA's process approving China's poultry processing plants. These plants are now able to export processed chicken to the United States.  She expresses concern about the way the USDA has approved those plants. Her letter states that she opposed the equivalency designation because "it irresponsibly granted equivalency to the entire country's poultry processing system despite FSIS having only audited a limited number of China's poultry processing plants." She also states that the recent release of internal emails shows that "FSIS is taking a stunningly passive approach in approving three new Chinese poultry processing as eligible to export to the United States." The … [Read more...]

Rep. DeLauro Sends Letter to USDA Expressing Concern Over Chinese Chicken

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has written a letter to Sonny Perdue, the Secretary of the USDA, expressing concern over reports suggesting that the government is planning to let China export its own poultry products to the United States. Food safety and consumer advocates have long opposed such a move to import Chinese chicken, citing serious food safety concerns about food from that country and many deadly outbreaks that have occurred there. According to the letter, Chinas General Administration of Customs Under Secretary met with a Chinese deputy director to discuss agricultural trade. DeLauro states, "given China's longstanding and well documented food safety problems, it is appalling to me that officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch: Chinese Chicken Shipments Endangering Public Health

Food & Water Watch has released a statement from their Executive Director, Wenonah Hauter, about chicken that is being processed in China and shipped to the United States. Food & Water Watch has requested information from the USDA about this issue. While Chinese plants can process raw poultry and ship to the U.S., the raw poultry itself can only come from "approved" sources, such as the Untied States, Canada, and Chile. Unfortunately, the USDA's 2016 audit checklist from one of the plants that slaughtered the chickens in Chile before they were shipped to China for processing "reveals serious problems at this first stop in the product's long journey." Hauter continues, "The USDA's audit of the Agroindustrial el Paico S.A. facility in Chile noted non-compliances in … [Read more...]

Food & Watch Watch Wants USDA to Halt Chinese Chicken

In late June, the first shipment of processed chicken from China arrived in the U.S. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, issued a statement about this event. In 2014, China completed the paperwork to certify four of its poultry processing plants so they can export these items to the U.S. The raw poultry must come from "approved sources," but food safety advocates are not convinced. The USDA has not disclosed where the raw poultry comes from. And the chicken will not be labeled, so consumers won't know if they are buying products from China. Food safety problems in China have been rampant. A scandal where companies added melamine to milk to hide dilution sickened more than 300,000 babies. Jerky pet treats imported from China have sickened and killed … [Read more...]

Dog Deaths Prompt Petco to Dump Treats Made in China

Petco has become the first national pet specialty retailer to end sales of pet treats made in China. The decision was prompted by continuing reports of illness and deaths associated with the products. Between 2007 an 2014, at least 5,600 dogs illnesses and 1,000 dog deaths were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats have also sickened 24 cats, and three people. "As a trusted partner for pet parents, we believe this is the right thing to do, and we're proud to take this step in the best interest of pets," said Jim Myers, Petco CEO. "What we feed our pets matters, and this milestone supports the company's steadfast commitment to putting our customers, partners, … [Read more...]

Omnibus Funding Bill Bans Chinese Chicken from School Lunches

The DeLauro-Pingree Amendment in the Omnibus spending bill that was just passed by Congress bans purchase of chicken raised in the United States and processed in China for school lunches. The bill was passed by the House last Thursday and the Senate on Saturday. Representative Rosa DeLauro said in a statement, "banning Chinese chicken from school meals is a common-sense step to protect our kids. China's food safety record is atrocious, yet last year USDA deemed poultry processed in China to be as safe as poultry processed here. Children are among the most susceptible to foodborne illness. We cannot take unnecessary risks with our health." Representative Pingree said, "Chinese chicken does not belong in school lunches. China has such serious food safety problems that even Chinese … [Read more...]

China Completes Paperwork for Poultry Export to U.S.

The USDA's FSIS announced yesterday that China has completed the "necessary paperwork" to certify four of its poultry processing plants so they can export processed poultry products to the U.S. The raw poultry will have to come from "approved sources", but food safety advocates are concerned. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch said in a statement, "China's food safety system is a wreck. Food & Water Watch has been fighting FSIS on this issue since it first proposed granting China equivalency status in November 2005. There have been scores of food safety scandals in China, and the most recent ones have involved expired poultry products sold to U.S. fast food restaurants based in China. Now, we have FSIS moving forward to implement this ill-conceived decision, … [Read more...]

Tell USDA No Apples from China

The USDA this summer proposed to amend the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow the import of fresh apples from China into the United States. the only condition is that apples from areas in China where the Oriental fruit fly is not known to exist would include special rules. Those rules would include registration of places of production, inspection for quarantine pests and bagging of fruit and treating the apples with fumigation and refrigeration. All apples from China must be accompanied by a "phytosanitary certificate" stating that all conditions for importation of apples have been met. Food & Water Watch opposes this rule, stating that "the proposed approach for managing the threat of quarantine pests would increase the volume of imported apples that should be inspected … [Read more...]

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. Food & 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 … [Read more...]

UC Davis Food Safety Partnership with China

The University of California, Davis will be part of a new Sino-U.S. Joint Research Center for Food Safety in China. Researchers form the university will work with officials from China’s Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University in Shaanxi province on the new project.  "We are incredibly pleased to join forces with Northwest A&F University and look forward to making discoveries and realizing solutions that will promote food safety in China and around the world,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.  "The food industry has become the largest industry in China; and food safety is a critical area for China and the U.S. to have creative cooperation and learn from each other," said Zhang Laiwu, China's vice minister of science and technology. "It not only involves technologies, … [Read more...]

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