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How China Got Approval to Process and Export U.S. Chicken

For two weeks this past March, an audit team from USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) was all over the People’s Republic of China’s poultry-processing system.

Their task was to determine if China’s processing “remains equivalent to that of the United States, with the ability to produce products that are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled.”

The conclusion, based on corrective actions the Chinese took in response to the last audit in 2010, was that China’s General Administration for Quality and Safety Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) passed the test — its regulation of poultry production is up to USDA standards.

This means that four poultry processors in China will be able to ship cooked poultry products to the U.S. The chickens will have to originate here, but it also might be the first step toward the day when birds raised and slaughtered in China could fill dinner plates in the U.S.

Like its other foreign audits, the FSIS investigation of China’s poultry-processing plants was exhaustive. It included government oversight, statutory authority and regulations, sanitation practices, hazard analysis and critical control point planning, chemical residue programs and microbiological testings.

In each area, FSIS requires the foreign government reach a standard that is at least equivalent to USDA standards. In China, the two-week audit began and ended in Beijing, but focused on four poultry-processing establishments: Qingdao 9-Alliance Group, Ltd.; Zhucheng Waimao Co., Ltd., Weifang Legang Food Co., Ltd, and Zhong AO Holdings Co., Ltd.

All four establishments were investigated based on provisions of both U.S. and Chinese food-safety law. China first requested U.S. inspection in 2004, and while it was added to the U.S. list of countries for which export of processed poultry was allowed in 2006, restrictions were imposed because China was not free of highly pathogenic Avian flu and exotic Newcastle Disease.

Since 2010, however, China has taken corrective actions and sought a re-examination by the U.S. FSIS then found the inspection system in the People’s Republic “meets the requirement for this equivalence component.”

© Food Safety News
  • Carlo Silvestr

    Given China’s less than stellar record on safety in general and food safety in particular and their seeming penchant for making cosmetic changes rather than changing anything substantial, I wonder if this is another flim-flam just to open up a market for China without any real regard for food safety.

  • Oginikwe

    We need this like we need chopsticks stuck in our eyes.

  • GilbertDavis

    I will never eat a food product from China . Their Government allows too much cheating and unfair practices with The USA. When they allow freedom of Worship and religious and political freedom , then maybe I and millions will reconsider buying and consuming any of their food products .

    • Elle Bee

      You can rest assured that our USA government is in on this cheating and in deep. This is nothing but ‘legal crime’ again and again. As the Chinese man in one video states, “here in China, we are all trying to out-swindle each other.” Secularism, Corporatism, and Communism. This is what dumb Americans idealize. This is it. It’s happened.

  • msps

    Eeew! How could we be getting fresh chicken if as it appears it’s shipped to China for preparation and then shipped back to the US? Plus, I have no faith in any Chinese safety processes and procedures regardless of what the FSIS found. There is plenty of evidence that China cares little for human food safety. Just because they showed appropriate care on a visit they no doubt had plenty of notice was to occur does not mean that their everyday processes would continue to be sufficient, even if one got past the disgusting non-freshness. Hope there’s a resource to identify chickens processed in China so I can avoid it.

  • Za Ch

    Most of the honey we allow China to export over here isn’t actually honey and the USDA has been sleeping on that front for years. Anyone who eats chicken processed in China is obviously a very smart individual for trusting that the USDA is actually doing its job.

  • Kathy Heinisch

    It’s so asinine for USA to ship chicken to China to have it processed and shipped back to USA..and even worse the well traveled chicken most will likely be used in “prepared” foods, that require no country of origin info., just flippin great.. Have we already forgotten about the lead in baby & pet toys, tainted dog treats, unacceptable levels of Cadmium in junky jewelry targeted towards children..oh, and the flip flops that caused sever blistering on the feet of consumers that purchased them..which producers will be exporting their chicken to china and which corporations are going to import it back..or is that top secret???

  • kg

    We can’t even feed dog food from China to our pets. Give me a break.

    • Elle Bee

      As I stated, this is more legal crime from our own government. Period.

    • Big Ben

      You are 100% correct it’s is freaking crazy but this is what happens when you allow yourself to be so indebted to a country that you have to pull your pants down and allow yourself to be sc&@# in the a@& with the people of this country left to bear the consequence of poor government

  • McRayRay

    Would you please clarify what labeling will be required in the US, and whether the product would be a retail product or institutional product (such as… school lunches?).

    • Skull52

      That is the problem the processed chicken does not have be be labeled as being processed in China, so it will be almost impossible to know, the only viable option is hit the companies financially by a full on boycott of the product and by bring this to public attention by disseminating this through all and any means available, as of yet I have not seen this in any of the main stream media I found out from my Son. I watch the news nightly and read the paper daily and have seen nothing. BTW; I don’t believe this effects organic chicken. It is processed chicken,(Nuggets, Patties, Chicken Soups, Etc) and therefore will undoubtedly end up in School lunches.

  • Priscilla Lane

    We again are being taken over by a foreign country. Why do we have to ship or import every stinking thing, Our steel mills have be taken, now we get it from where, china. We are sending our horses over seas, because the greedy AQHA is over breeding. but we have been fighting to get jobs here. You can’t even call and talk to an American. What the hell is gong wrong with our country. You can’t find a damn thing that is really made in America, good old USA. Even our Hersey’s chocolate is imported from Mexico. Our government is no help in protection of our animals, our children our food. We have Fracking,Monsanto, the very 2 that are killing us. You name it. Look at how much destruction they are dong to our country. The few who try to do the proper thing, in the political offices, are over looked & run over. Our country is run like corporate ion, not what the people want.

  • Anon

    I for one will not buy any.

  • Hydroman

    Did USDA do a environmental assessment before making this absurd decision? Think of the global carbon footprint shipping the chicken to China, then back. The loss of US jobs (already 7.3% as of today unemployment, this will rise as fewer Americans will be processing chicken). The concerns about food safety (the chinese passed 1 inspection and won’t get checked on again for another year). If this was undersecretary Haagen’s decision, she should be fired. Secretary Vilsack should be dismissed for allowing it as well.

  • Margaret Manzi

    None of this chicken will be my dinner table.

    • MargaretEDavis

      That’s the problem the law provides an opt out that the chicken does not have to have a label saying processed in China ..we won’t know. I think Tyson is the only company that wlll process their product from the coop to the table. And I will never ever eat a Smithfield product again.

  • Mavis Brunswick

    I have a hard time eating stuff from here let alone China..

  • James E. Madison

    What happens when we are no longer able to feed our selves, what will we become then?
    Subservient

    • Oginikwe

      Can you imagine if China decided to have a trade embargo against us?

      • Elle Bee

        This could happen, as they are hopping on board w/ the EU to force sanctions against the US for spying. Check your friends in the EU. Our media won’t report this yet.

  • Gregg Jungers

    This will lead to a lot of illness. The idea of shipping
    chickens from the US to China for processing is beyond backwards.

    How miles will be that on the product? How can this be assured to be safe?

    China has a horrible track record for corruption. Just the
    other day they had caught a Beef Processer selling Pork masked with chemicals
    etc. to mimic Beef!

    The USFDA has just allowed process lines in the US to speed
    up and have cut Federal Inspectors. There is no way we can even assure our own
    products are safe.

    It will not be safe, folks will get sick and die. Grand
    Profiteering…

    Know your Farmer

    • Elle Bee

      Just in time for the ACA, *whew*

  • Gardener for life

    This is disgusting. I am so sick of how our country feels the need to send our food somewhere else before we can have it. The amount of travel time will guarantee a whole hell of a lot more preservatives for sure. And how the heck can they be so sure that China doesn’t swap our chicken for theirs and send us theirs instead. My kids quit eating school foods years ago. Never again. Unfortunately we don’t have enough people willing to stand up and say NO MORE! So they will continue to screw with all the food. All to save a buck and poison the masses while they are at it. Kill 2 birds with one stone, No pun intended.

  • Simpledakota

    Too many rules in the United state of America… no one can do anything here. Ranchers are getting fewer and fewer.. we will be importing all our food.. and will have no say on how it’s produced.

  • Chriss Martorelli

    I have one question. Why?

    Doesn’t make sense to me. Can’t be cost effective to send out to China, have them process and then send back. What is the reason? And we won’t be aware of it because China does not appear on the label! My country is so letting me down.

  • Roger A.

    We should pick our representatives who are independent, working towards prosperity to USA alone. We should not vote for parties (Republican or Democratic). They are into the congress equally corrupt, raising funds with the aim of getting into congress or senate.

  • Loi Nguyen

    Profits before their national prides. I think we had problems before with baby foods. I will be happy to know which companies importing foods from China so I won’t buy their products for human and animal consumptions. When there are a lot of people who are unemployment why we have to import food from China ? Is it FREE ? or we have to buy their foods with credits. Even though it’s free I would take because my life is on the line. Please America don’t accept this is the only way we will survive.

  • giveandtake

    They have hired 16,000 IRS agents to make sure that we all have health insurance and if we don’t they will fine us. Then we have the First Lady telling us we are over weight and we must eat healthier and excercise more. Now we hear our chickens in the U.S. will be shipped to 4 plants in China to be processed, cooked and then sent back to the U.S to be put in soups, pot pies and many other products. Why when they have such a serious track record on food safety, paints, baby formulas, dog and cat foods are we doing this. I read where soon we will be getting just their chicken, ham and meats. This will not provide healthier foods for consumption. They said they carefully investigated their plants before this approval. Have they full time American Inspectors in their plants in China at all times. Are they going to require labeling once they begin to send us their chicken. Why won’t they also allow labeling of GMO’S which Doctors are beginning to be concerned about eating them because it is causing intestinal bleeding. If our First Lady is concerned about our health then why doesn’t she do something about this.

  • confusion

    Progressive government would solve many of these issues..

  • Mind boggled

    You sold out the American people. The founding fathers will roll over in their graves. Big business wins again and the American worker takes it up the ass. The decline of America sold out by the congress the senate and now the White House.

  • originalhandy

    Sweet, send the chinese our chicken so they can baste it in lead based batter and sell it back to us so we can all die.

  • Chow dog

    Have we overlooked the major reason our government is loosing trade restrictions with China?
    It works like this… raise the debt ceiling to keep the status quo. Then borrow the money from China. Does any one think that China is going to lend the money just for the interest they charge? Sorry folks, it also comes with negotiated trade agreements. So expect our government to give you glossy stories about protecting your food safety. they will continue to allow imports from china without concern of our own industries as long as China will feed them the cash they need.

  • vonnise

    “”Like its other foreign audits, the FSIS investigation of China’s poultry-processing plants was exhaustive. It included government oversight, statutory authority and regulations, sanitation practices, hazard analysis and critical control point planning, chemical residue programs and microbiological testings.”"
    …and how much money China paid them to ‘look the other way’. (They forgot to mention that!)