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USDA Gives Green Light to Ship Chicken From USA to China For Processing, Then Back to US…

in Food August 2, 2016

The term “Chinese Chicken” has all new meaning. Why? Because the United States Department of Agriculture recently permitted four chicken processing plants in China to import poultry raised and slaughtered in the United States for further processing.

Does anyone else not see the logic in this? In case you have not heard about this, here is the rundown:

Back in 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave four companies from China the go-ahead to ship chicken products into the United States.

I find this extremely odd, because as per USDA law, the only chickens these Chinese companies will be able to export to America will first have to pass USDA standards, which only apply to three countries: America, Canada, and Chile.

So, behind this law, chickens would have to be exported to China, go through processing, and then be shipped back to the United States.

“Economically, it does not make much sense,” stated Tom Super, spokesman for the National Chicken Council, in a current interview with the Houston Chronicle. “Think about it: A Chinese Company would need to purchase frozen chicken in the United States, pay to ship it 7,000 miles, unload it, transfer it to a processing plant, unload it, sufficed up, process/cook it, freeze it, repack it, transport it back to a port, and then deliver it another 7,000 miles. I do not know how anyone could earn a profit doing that.”

If you go look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website you will see that American poultry processors are paid approximately $11 per hour. In China, reports have flowed that the country’s chicken workers can make significantly less, $1 to $2 per hour, which calls into question Super’s economic feasibility evaluation.

A similar procedure is being utilized for U.S. Seafood. According to the Seattle Times, locally caught Pacific salmon and Dungeness crab are presently being processed in China and delivered back to the U.S., all due to the fact that it cuts down costs:

“… fish processors in the Northwest, including Seattle-based Trident Seafoods, are sending out part of their catch of Alaskan salmon or Dungeness crab to China to be filleted or de-shelled prior to going back to U.S. tables.

“There are 36 pin bones in a salmon and the best way to get rid of them is by hand,” states Charles Bundrant, creator of Trident, which ships about 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 provided for 20 cents in China.”

To some people, this may not seem like such a big deal, but China has an infamous track record as one of the world’s worst food safety offenders.

Personally, I would not eat anything that has been bounced around from country to country like that. No thank you, I will buy local.

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