Do you know where your food comes from? Unless you raise what goes on the dinner plate yourself, the answer to that question will likely be shocking.
The USDA will soon permit chickens raised in America to be sent to China for processing — and then be shipped back to the US for human consumption.
Even worse, the new relaxed regulations say nothing about allowing USDA inspectors at the Chinese chicken processing plants.
Our poultry may now become world travelers with little to no oversight. This is particularly disturbing considering the poor history of Chinese food safety, EatLocalGrown.com reported.
In 2014, a Shanghai company that supplied meant to McDonald’s and KFC was accused by a TV station of using out-of-date beef and chicken to make patties and other products. The TV station also recorded employees picking meat that had fallen onto the dirty floor and putting it back on the conveyor belt.
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It gets worse.
In 2008, more than 300,000 children in the country become ill from contaminated milk power, according to The Guardian. In 2012, high levels of mercury were found in baby formula sold in China, The New York Times reported. And in 2013, it was discovered that more than $1 million worth of rat, fox and mink was seasoned and sold as lamb to consumers. Chinese officials arrested more than 900 in that latter scandal. Rat meat can be cut and prepared in such a way that most consumers would believe it is chicken.
So, when you go to the grocery store, you will immediately be alerted that the chicken you are about to purchase was processed in China, right? If you answered “no,” give yourself a gold star. The USDA says meats from America that are processed in China don’t need a label.
Lobbyists for the chicken industry claim that no United States company will ship chicken to China for processing simply because it does not make economic sense.
“Think about it: A Chinese company would have to purchase frozen chicken in the U.S., pay to ship it 7,000 miles, unload it, transport it to a processing plant, unpack it, cut it up, process/cook it, freeze it, repack it, transport it back to a port, then ship it another 7,000 miles. I don’t know how anyone could make a profit doing that,” National Chicken Council spokesmen Tom Super told Houston Chronicle.
Hmm. The vast majority of items we purchase at the store are made overseas and shipped to the US, and a similar process is already being used for seafood caught off the various American coasts. Would it be such a fiscal leap for chicken processing to be outsourced as well?
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chicken processors in the United States make about $11 per hour. In China, the same workers earn only about $1 to $2 per hour, EatLocalGrown.com reported. Those figures definitely cast some doubt upon comments made by poultry industry lobbyists.
The Seattle Times reported that Dungeness crab and Pacific Salmon caught domestically are being shipped to China for processing and then shipped back and placed in grocery stores.
“There are 36 pin bones in a salmon and the best way to remove them is by hand,” Trident founder Charles Bundrant said. The company reportedly ships approximately 30 million pounds of its 1.2 billion-pound annual harvest to China for processing. “Something that would cost us $1 per pound labor here, they get it done for 20 cents in China.”
It’s probably a good time to start raising backyard chickens.
What do think about the USDA allowing chicken to be sent to China for processing and then returned to the United States for consumption by you and your family? Leave your thoughts in the section below:
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