The U.S. Department of Agriculture has lifted the ban on chicken imports from four Chinese poultry processors.
Bloomberg reports that the U.S. examined how safe food safety systems are in China based on whether or not the products are “safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled.” China passed USDA’s safety standards and they can now process and export chickens slaughtered in the U.S., but there’s a catch.
There will not be any inspectors in the Chinese processing plants to enforce that the chickens were processed safely following USDA requirements. Additionally, the processed birds will not need point-of-origin labels to ensure that the chickens were processed in the poultry processors.
Consumers will have no way of knowing whether the poultry was processed in the U.S. or in China. This is problematic because China’s poor safety regulations have resulted in multiple incidents of food poisoning over the last several years.
When asked in a press conference about cracking down on food-safety regulations, a senior Chinese policy maker said that their products will meet China’s “natural conditions.” If China cannot meet USDA standards regarding how chickens are processed, there is no way to guarantee whether or not our chicken nuggets are safe to eat.