Quality Progress - October 2013 - (Page 14)

keePingcurre food safety Fowl-Up? C Decision to allow some Chinese-processed poultry into U.S. raises concerns consumer safety advocates think u.s. regulators might be setting the table for future contamination outbreaks following a recent ease in restrictions covering some chinese poultry processors. Last month, the u.s. department of agriculture (usda) began allowing four processing plants in china to ship a limited amount of poultry to the united states. the birds would be raised and slaughtered in the united states, canada or chile (the only countries approved by the usda), but processed in china and sold back into the american market. some think this development will eventually expand the rules—as soon as a year from now—so chickens and turkeys actually bred in china could end up in u.s. grocery cases and restaurants. “this is the first step toward allowing china to export its own domestic chickens to the u.s.” said tony corbo, the senior lobbyist for food and Water Watch, an advocacy group that promotes food safety. the chinese facilities will verify that cooked products exported to the united states came from american birds, so no usda inspector will be present in the plants. Because the poultry will only be processed there, it will not require a “Made in china” label. that means u.s. consumers eating frozen chicken nuggets from a grocery store or a chicken sandwich from a fast-food restaurant will not know whether the chicken came from a chinese processing plant. Because of china’s recent history with food safety lapses, nervousness about this regulatory move is not surprising. the country has had frequent outbreaks of the deadly avian influenza. recently, the u.s. food and drug administration tied the deaths of more than 500 dogs and a handful of cats to chicken jerky treats that came from china. the food was eventually recalled, but not 14 QP • www.qualityprogress.com before it sickened another 2,500 animals. “Previous usda poultry inspections revealed conditions in china that could put american consumers at risk,” rep. rosa deLauro (d-conn.), one of the most vocal critics of allowing chinese chicken in the united states, said in a statement. “even if a one-off visit shows an improved environment, there will be no u.s. inspector continually present when chicken is being processed for export to the u.s. i continue to remain deeply concerned that trade interests will trump public health at the end of this process.” usda officials defended the approvals, saying the chinese processors provided sufficient evidence and met the proper requirements. al almanza, administrator of the usda’s food safety and inspection service (fsis), said the four processing plants were audited and cleared by inspectors earlier this year to process u.s.-origin chicken and sell it back into the american market. during the March audit, the fsis sought to determine whether the chinese government provides sufficient, consistent over- sight at poultry plants. the fsis also created mock situations to test the plant personnel and quizzed supervisors to see whether they were now properly trained on the reformed hazard analysis and critical control points (HaccP), how to test for salmonella and listeria, and what to do in the case of contamination. By the end of the inspection, china was given the green light to certify the four poultry plants that will export processed poultry to the united states. “if we were to determine that their system is equivalent [to u.s. plants], why wouldn’t it be?” almanza said. “it’s the same [set of standards] we use for any other country. We’re not treating china any differently in determining equivalency for exporting to the united states.” Processed poultry is currently imported to the united states from five other countries: canada, chile, france, israel and Mexico. almanza acknowledged more must be done before the usda approves china for exporting its own chicken. “there are some issues that still need to be addressed” to establish equivalency between poultry plants in the united states and china, he said. an fsis spokeswoman said imported raw poultry is audited through a different audit team, and is not related to the auditing of processed chicken. BIBLIOGRAPHY Elliot, Danielle, “Officials Say ‘Okay’ to Processed Chicken From China,” CBS News, Sept. 6, 2013, www.cbsnews. com/8301-205_162-57601738/officials-say-okay-toprocessed-chicken-from-china. Parti, Tarini, and Bill Tomson, “Chinese-raised Chicken Could Be on U.S. Tables Soon,” Politico, Sept. 9, 2013, www. politico.com/story/2013/09/chinese-raised-chicken-96490. html. Strom, Stephanie, “Chinese Chicken Processors Are Cleared to Ship to U.S.,” New York Times, Aug. 30, 2013, www. nytimes.com/2013/08/31/business/chinese-chickenprocessors-are-cleared-to-ship-to-us.html?_r=0. Tomson, Bill, and Tarini Parti, “USDA Trip Moves U.S. Closer to Accepting Chinese Chicken,” Politico, Aug. 15, 2013, www. politico.com/story/2013/08/usda-chinese-chicken-95586. html. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57601738/officials-say-okay-toprocessed-chicken-from-china http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/chinese-raised-chicken-96490.html http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/31/business/chinese-chickenprocessors-are-cleared-to-ship-to-us.html?_r=0 http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/usda-chinese-chicken-95586.html http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - October 2013

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Perspectives
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
5S Shakeup
For the Greater Good
Turned On
Get There Faster
Career Corner
Standards Outlook
Quality in the First Person
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
Back to Basics

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