Washington, D.C.—“Today marks the end of a public comment period regarding a proposed rule that would permit the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to export its own poultry products to the U.S. Food & Water Watch submitted detailed comments outlining the risks posed by this USDA proposal, as wall as a petition signed by more than 16,000 people.
“While USDA claims that PRC’s food safety inspection system is equivalent to ours, the country’s own public health officials admit that PRC’s food safety system is flawed, with weak enforcement. USDA would be wise to cancel any plans to import poultry raised and processed in the PRC.
“Since October 2016, at least 268 people in the PRC have died from exposure to avian influenza. A scientific paper published earlier this year found that antibiotic-resistant strains of the pathogen run rampant in Chinese poultry.
“Let’s not also forget the other food safety scandals that have plagued the PRC in recent years. In 2008, dairy products tainted with melamine killed six infants and caused 300,000 Chinese consumers to be hospitalized. Other food safety violations include food processing establishments recovering and reusing used cooking oil from street gutters; another food processor marinating duck meat in sheep urine in order to pass it off as lamb meat, another meat merchant marinating pork in chemicals to disguise it as beef; and companies manufacturing and exporting poultry pet treats tainted with toxins that sickened thousands of pets in the U.S.
“Ultimately, processed poultry from the PRC will not be subject to country of origin labeling requirements, leaving consumers completely in the dark about what they are buying and feeding to their families. Food & Water Watch urges USDA to cancel any plans to enact this dubious rule.”