The US Department of Agriculture recently lifted a ban on processed Chinese chicken imports, causing a scare over the fact that ‘Murican chicken nuggets possibly use Chinese chicken. You know, because the chicken used before was clearly the free range, acorn-fed, manicured, Kobe variety. Bloomberg reports:
The report on the approved poultry plants noted that the audit set out to “to determine whether the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) food safety system governing poultry processing remains equivalent to that of the United States (U.S.), with the ability to produce products that are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled.” Needless to say, the Chinese plants passed.
Even worse, because the birds will be processed, the USDA will not require point-of-origin labeling (under USDA rules, foods that have been cooked aren’t subject to point-of-origin labeling). In other words: Consumers will have no way to tell if those chicken nuggets in the supermarket freezer were processed in the U.S. or in China.
That’s kind of like saying we’ll have no way to tell if that herpes is from the US or China. Either way, I don’t want it to get it.
Also, anyone who’s watched Food Inc, knows that the US chicken-processing industry isn’t exactly squeaky-clean. And we hardly need to remind you what goes into a chicken nugget, regardless of where the chicken is from.
Now we’re not delusional, we know recent Chinese chicken scandals dwarf US ones, and include but aren’t limited to bird flu, recycling Cultural Revolution-era chicken feet , and countless hormone violations. Not to mention that the health inspection/food safety systems in place in the US are in general, light-years more reliable. So yeah, if I were going to eat chicken nuggets, I’d have to go US chicken. And if the USDA is going to let sloppily-inspected Chinese chicken into the US, what else is it going to let in?
But for the time being, using Chinese chicken for chicken nuggets is like mixing rat poison with anthrax. Just because you take away the anthrax doesn’t make the rat poison good.
[Image credit: @nicolesusanne]