Food safety advocates have launched a petition aimed at getting Congress to keep chicken from China off U.S. plates. The petition asks Congress and the Obama administration to ensure that Chinese-processed chicken is not included in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program. It also seeks to prevent federal funds from being used to implement any rule that would allow poultry raised or slaughtered in China to be exported to the U.S. These two goals are also supported by 14 members of Congress who wrote an open letter to the Agricultural Appropriations Committee in December. In August, USDA reaffirmed that China’s processing system is equivalent to ours, but China has yet to certify plants to process chicken for export and give a list of them to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The country hasn’t signified that they intend to do this, and U.S. companies have not expressed the desire to have China process their poultry. Food that comes to schools through USDA for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program is required to be 100-percent domestically grown and produced. But schools don’t get all their food from USDA, and, if China ever did start processing U.S. chicken, there would be the possibility that private vendors could sell it to schools. In November, FSIS announced that an audit of China’s poultry slaughtering system found that it’s not equivalent to America’s, meaning that poultry slaughtered in China is not allowed to be imported to the U.S. USDA is legally required to review and audit any request for equivalency. And there is the possibility that preventing funds from being used to implement rules allowing poultry raised or slaughtered in China to be exported to the U.S. could go against a WTO ruling about trade disputes. This article includes updated information about the source of food in school lunch and breakfast programs. 

  • Birdie

    How on earth could it be cheaper to ship our chickens to China for processing & then returned to us? It’s simple; they do things they shouldn’t. The USDA claims their methods are equivalent but have never visited them to see if they actually do what they say they do. And we can really trust China? I think not. Furthermore, people here in the U.S. could use the jobs. It’s a no-brainer, but once again corporate greed trumps our safety and economy.

    • speckle_legged_dog

      Think of what low quality they must be for that to be cheaper! We need to keep in mind that there were people in China that poisoned baby formula in order to keep it cheap to produce and make more money, the babies of their own people. Many babies died. People willing to do that for money probably wouldn’t worry about poisoning us. We already have found out you even have to make sure dog food and treats aren’t made in China so you won’t kill your pets.

    • Oginikwe

      Read that last paragraph again: ” . . .allowing poultry raised or slaughtered in China”
      When this first came up, you’re right–it was about shipping chickens from North America for processing but this is the second article that I’ve read in the past week that is now about poultry raised in China. And, quite simply, China is a mess right now. Over 8 million acres are too polluted to grow food, the levels of cadmium in their rice is part of the cancer villages (we have arsenic in ours: rather not have either), and, oh, about a hundred other problems over there.

      • DiscusBS

        In the Salinas Valley vegetables are grown on cadmium contaminated land and put into the marketplace on a regular basis. The levels of cadmium contamination found in the spinach, lettuce and other vegetables are routinely much higher than that reported out of China. It is only because of international standards that we even know about the cadmium or arsenic contaminated food products. Meanwhile in the United States no regulations limiting the amount of cadmium, lead or arsenic in your food exist.

  • Darwi

    I an with you…….too bad no one is using common sense in this endeavor.

    • Ricky Hoppes

      It’s not so much about common sense, for them it’s all about the bottom line.

  • hu_sna

    In my personal opinion, the majority of the vendors that provide to schools are getting away with ingredients containing 49 % chicken products imported from other countries (according to regulations), then the petition (which by the way I have signed as well) holds no value. Most of the food additives, ingredients, processing aids are processed internationally and can equally contribute to food borne illnesses.

  • Jane Peters

    I won’t eat any of it. And I’ll boycott any company that imports chicken from China.

  • Traci Isaacs

    Come on already – like we need more stuff done in China, but the safety record is a nightmare. I wouldn’t eat, or let my children eat, a single thing that comes out of there. End of story.

  • Oginikwe

    Why not? We already get most of our vitamins and pharmaceuticals from there. Yep, China’s just the ticket and it’s all “equivalent.”

    From Milk to Peas, a Chinese Food-Safety Mess:

    Chinese Official: Soil Pollution Hurts Farming:

    ‘Organic’ From China Exposed:

    Top 5 Imported Foods From China You Should Avoid:

    China May Approve US Beef, Following Chicken Deal:

    The Chinavore’s Dilemma (Mother Jones) Sept./Oct.

  • Barb3000

    I haven’t bought food products from China in years. All I can say is check the labels on all canned goods. Check the labels on any bagged frozen fish because the Kroger company which has stores all over the US like Fred Meyer in Washington state. This company is importing codfish, pond raised catfish and salmon from China that is in frozen bags that are cheaper than the pond raised in the US. This pond raised catfish is what is putting the US catfish breeders in the southern states out of business because of its lower selling price. I have seen photos of how clean the ponds are in the US also the grain based feed pellets the fish are given next to the filthy messes the pond raised fish in china are raised in. Has Kroger sent anyone to China to take a look at the ponds the fish they are importing into the US is raised in??? I doubt it.

  • Ra

    I just wondering…If we (USA) grow the chicken, cook the chicken, send chicken to China for processing, China send chicken back to USA, stores put chicken on store shelve. How old is that darn chicken from slaughter to putting on USA store shelf that I won’t buy or eat…..

  • Ra

    As an after thought to my first posting..How do we know were getting our own chicken from USA back?

  • Jeanette

    Would it be possible that chicken companies that grow and process their own chicken be label on their packaging? Seems it would be beneficial to them. I would buy it!

  • Kay

    That is ridiculous! Not only are they trying to infect us with who knows what, in which, is NOT Chicken and they are poisioning our innocent dogs as well. I will not buy anything, as far as treats for my boys in case it states that it is made in the in the USA!