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China Eyeing US Cooked Chickens Market

There is no stopping the Chinese. Not a single sphere in the US they would like to leave untouched it seems. The next target in its crosshairs is the cooked chickens market.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture puts it very glibly, "China is seeking to familiarize the U.S. market with its cooked chickens."

Predictably the poultry lobby is worried. It talks about such common practices among Chinese farmers, like flooding crops with unapproved pesticides or giving antibiotics to livestock.

No amount of cooking can destroy pesticide residues or antibiotics. Besides they note, turning up their noses, farmers over there use human feces as fertilizer.

Lucius Adkins, president of United Poultry Growers Association, representing over 700 producers in Georgia, is outraged. He said, the idea "should be strangled in infancy."

Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat of Connecticut strongly opposes Chinese entry into the highly coveted, closed chicken market.

Instead, she asserts that Congress should restrict chicken imports until Beijing is ready to improve food safety oversight.

"There is deception," DeLauro said. "There is lax regulation, and they've got unsanitary conditions. They need to hear from us they're at risk. Congress has to look at limiting some of their agricultural imports."

But officials in Washington are scrambling to work out something that both the Chinese and Americans can agree on. The Department of Agriculture's proposal is "to allow chickens raised, slaughtered, and cooked in China to be sold in the United States, and under current regulations store labels do not have to indicate the origin of the poultry," reports The Boston Globe.

Under the current guidelines, both the USDA and the FDA state that all countries looking to export meat, poultry, or egg products to the U.S. need to earn "equivalency" points - which is like saying products imported to the U.S. are as good as the domestic competition.

When no U.S. government representative in China would be watching poultry being slaughtered and processed, what is the guarantee that American consumers would be safe from the "unacceptable practices of the Chinese farmer?" ask in anguished tones the poultry lobbyists. But who is listening?


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