US will allow import of chicken processed in China - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Despite oversight worries, US to allow Chinese processed chicken

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(RNN) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture granted approval for China, a country with a questionable food safety record, to process poultry that will be imported for consumption in America.

The New York Times reported a limited amount of poultry will be slaughtered in the U.S. and Canada, shipped overseas to four approved plants and shipped back stateside.

Because USDA rules do not require labels for food that has been cooked, consumers will not know if their poultry has been processed domestically or abroad.

"China's 'national condition' has already seemingly had a harmful effect on its poultry - and on U.S. consumers unlucky enough to have bought it for their pets," Bloomberg writer Adam Minter said.

Minter's reference was to a Food and Drug Administration investigation that linked Chinese meat in jerky treats as the cause of death for hundreds of pets and the illness of thousands more.

There are common occurrences of avian influenza (bird flu) in the country, and 20,000 birds from a popular market were killed in June after a virus strain discovered in Shanghai killed six people.

A three-month investigation by Chinese state security that ended earlier this year led to the arrest of more than 900 people for using meat from rats, foxes and mink and selling it off as lamb in food markets.

This decision by the USDA follows a contentious proposal to sell Smithfield Foods to a major Chinese food processor.

The meat trade between the two countries has been contentious since 2003. China banned imports of U.S. beef for concerns of mad cow disease, and Congress followed that by blocking the import of Chinese poultry.

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