Playing Chicken With Consumers: U.S. To Allow Chinese Chicken Sold Without Origin Labels In U.S. While Handing Over Inspections To Industry

220px-MIN_Rungis_volailleWith the continuing stories of contaminated or mislabeled food coming from China, many people have actively sought to avoid Chinese products. The United States Department of Agriculture (long the enemy of the consumer and friend of agribusiness) has come up with a solution: Chinese chicken imports will be sold without telling people that they are from China. In an apparent effort to bring our standards to Chinese levels, the Administration is also planning to hand over key inspection posts to industry.

The U.S. had been fighting with China for banning our beef in 2003. We banned chicken from China during an avian flu outbreak, but China got a favorable ruling from the World Trade Organization forcing us to open our borders.

We therefore have to allow Chinese chicken to be sold here. However, we seem to have gone even further in allowing China to hide its country-of-origin. Here is how it works. The Chinese chickens are raised in the U.S. and Canada and then “processed” in China. By using this loophole, soup companies, restaurants, and other companies can hide the fact that the chicken comes from one of the most notorious sources of food in the world.

On top of this wonderful news, consumer advocates are objecting to a plan by the Obama Administration to replace USDA inspectors with employees of poultry companies. This is meant, you guessed it, to save money at a time when the Administration wants to start yet another war. After all, why have government inspectors when we can use the money for a couple of cruise missiles fired at Syria?

Moreover, if you cannot trust poultry companies to report on themselves, who can you trust? The answer, it appears are those paragons of food quality, the Chinese.

94 thoughts on “Playing Chicken With Consumers: U.S. To Allow Chinese Chicken Sold Without Origin Labels In U.S. While Handing Over Inspections To Industry”

  1. With a few exceptions, the cheese made in the US is more akin to the feed lot than the five star restaurant. Most Americans have become accostomed to this as evidenced by many of them judging the quality of the cheese by how fast it melts in a microwave.

    This is one area where Europe has defeated us completely.

  2. Juliet,
    During the war, sugar and black pepper were rationed. However, we lived in Louisiana so sugar cane was available, and lots of people made their own cane sugar and molasses. As for pepper, there is always “Cajun Ketchup” aka Tabasco sauce. We also grew fresh peppers in our garden. And of course, there is the old Cajun trick of adding ground chicory to coffee as a coffee extender.

    I still like Tabasco on my eggs.

  3. Juliet,
    I have been possum hunting with some of my Dad’s friends, but we never had possum. My mother refused to allow it in the kitchen because she said it was too greasy to eat.

    I forgot to add frogs, crawdads and fish to my short list of “found food.” When my son was in Alaska, his freezer was full of salmon and moose. He loved fishing for King Salmon. Once you have had fresh caught King Salmon, it spoils you in comparison to the salmon you get at the store.

  4. nick,
    The operant word is * had * cows. That was when I was young and there was a war on. Rationing changed a lot of dietary habits. We had a Victory Garden and got a cow. I raised rabbits and chickens in the back yard. Crawdads, alligator and snake were available for the catching. We never made cheese, but we had lots of butter and homemade ice cream. I still have the churn, but the ice cream maker is long worn out and discarded.

  5. SwM,

    I’m not a fan of game but Tex truly likes it. I have had bison a few times … I want to say we were in Wyoming … and it was okay.

  6. Blouise, My husband eats that stuff when we are travelling also. When we were in Florida a few years ago he brought the alligator meat back from a swamp cruise. On this last trip he was eating locally raised bison from Wisconsin. He eats boar, too.

  7. OS,

    Tex eats both rattlesnake and alligator … as often as he can get it when traveling as he considers both to be regional foods best prepared by local chefs and cooks. He gets rattlesnake out west and alligator in New Orleans (he agrees with Gene regarding the preparation and prefers alligator in sausage form).

    He’s also a fan of wild boar.

  8. pete:

    I dont drink milk at all and stopped over 30 years ago. It isnt, in my opinion, human food. It is meant to grow a calf to a bull or cow. I eat very little dairy in general.

    I know a family with a dairy farm and they drink raw milk all the time and have many chidlren, they are all healthy as horses.

    Better to live with risk than give your freedom up for security.

    Darwinian selection can be a good thing. It takes the feeble [minded] out of the gene pool.

  9. Gene, I have gotten to know a lot of cheese makers. I was in a fantasy baseball league w/ a great guy who really knows baseball and cheese. Quite an eclectic combo. He’s from the eastern shore of Maryland. But, he loved cheese, moved to Wi., and married a cheesehead woman. Ross won a very prestigious award for his bleu cheese several years back. He goes to France often and I’m w/ you about France. If I go it will be cheese, baquette and wine, not necessarily in that order. Ross has gotten me into some great cheese competition shows. There’s a big one in Madison w/ competitors from all over the world. I love people who are passionate about anything. And, if it’s food..well, I’m Italian.

  10. Also, none of the cheese makers I’ve talked with were as concerned about pasteurization as they were about fat content and the cattle’s diet. That being said, living in Cheese-consin, you’ve probably chatted with more of them than I have. I do know this though. If I ever get around to going to France? At least one day is going to be utilized in cheese shops.

  11. nick,

    I think it depends on the method of pasteurization. Big industrial dairies usually uses high temperature process that “flash pasteurize” which uses higher temps. This is what Wiki says about the alternative processes:

    “Pasteurization typically uses temperatures below boiling, since at very high temperatures, casein micelles will irreversibly aggregate, or “curdle”. The two main types of pasteurization used today are high-temperature, short-time (HTST, also known as “flash”) and extended shelf life (ESL). Ultra-high temperature processing (UHT, also known as ultra-heat-treating) is also used for milk treatment. In the HTST process, milk is forced between metal plates or through pipes heated on the outside by hot water, and is heated to 72°C (161°F) for 15 seconds.[18]:8 UHT processing holds the milk at a temperature of 138°C (280°F) for a minimum of two seconds.[18]:90 ESL milk has a microbial filtration step and lower temperatures than UHT milk.[19] Milk simply labeled “pasteurized” is usually treated with the HTST method, whereas milk labeled “ultra-pasteurized” or simply “UHT” has been treated with the UHT method. Since 2007, however, it is no longer a legal requirement in European countries (for example in Germany) to declare ESL milk as ultra-heated; consequently, it is now often labeled as “fresh milk” and just advertised as having an “extended shelf life”, making it increasingly difficult to distinguish ESL milk from traditionally pasteurized fresh milk. A less conventional, but US FDA-legal, alternative (typically for home pasteurization) is to heat milk at 145 °F (63 °C) for 30 minutes.”

    A 145 °F is a lot different energy load than 280°F chemically speaking and you know what they say about time being money.

  12. And, we should agree the artisanal cheese makers have the best palates, like wine experts. They will tell you the pasteurization, even prior to them doing their magic w/ the good bacteria in making cheese, has a definite affect.

  13. Gene, Here we disagree. However, now we’re talking taste so it is subjective. You are claiming that the super heating and cooling of a delicate, natural product has no affect on taste. That’s a tough sell and I am not buying. I’ve tasted the differences, including non homogenized, pasteurized and plain raw. I didn’t realize OS was a gentleman farmer. I would like to hear his take on it. But again, taste is individual. We all have different palates.

  14. nick,

    It’s unlikely that it’s the pasteurization that alters the flavor (much if at all). The bigger difference probably comes from homogenization of the milk fat content (which is different from cow to cow and has more impact on flavor as fat is a “flavor carrier”). I used to be able to get milk that was pasteurized but not homogenized from a local dairy when I lived in the midwest and it is indeed a different kind of taste. But in talking to cheese makers, it’s my understanding that there are certain types of cheese that simply can’t be made with anything other than raw milk that are available in Europe, but not here.

  15. nick,
    I don’t have a problem with raw milk if you know where it comes from. We have had cows, and I know how to hit the cat in the face with a squirt when milking. When you have chilled milk for lunch that was grass yesterday, it is great. However, when one is a bit more remote from the source, things get a little iffy.

    There is one caveat to that about fresh milk tasting good. Our cow got into a patch of Bitterweed, and by that afternoon my dad and I were out in the pasture grubbing up every sprout of the weed we could find.

  16. Gene, We agree. The cost of pasteurization is not the problem w/ the raw milk movement. Pasteurization alters the taste of this natural product. However, for generation, only farmers knew because only they were drinkers of raw milk. I have now tasted the difference and I could be a raw milk whore just like a crack whore! That’s the fear of the dairy industry. Folks will want it, and they don’t have the means to provide it. Raw milk is inherently something you get @ the source from a conscientious dairy farmer. .

  17. pete, I have never worked in the dairy industry. However, I have toured dairy production. I took students on a tour and I also took a tour of a large production plant that was being sued for a large listeria outbreak. I was hired by the attorneys who were defending this corporation. I’ve also been to many dairy farms and seen raw milk @ the source. Finally, I know some artisanal cheese makers and have gotten their perspective on the dairy industry. Hell, pete, I’m in Chessehead land.

    You may remember the Schwann’s salmonella outbreak back in the 90’s? If so, you know over 200,00 folks were infected and many died, w/ the elderly and children being the bulk of the victims. When large dairies have a problem, hundreds of thousand are victims. If a local farmer has a problem, only a handful of people are affected. What bothers me even more are the factory farms that are taking over the milk production. There are none in Wi., YET. The corporations are pushing hard. I had read about factory farms but not until I actually saw and SMELLED them out west did I realize their scope. Outside of El Paso, TX., near the NM border, is a factory dairy farm w/ hundreds of thousands of milking cows. I mentioned earlier I came around to free range, cage free, etc. Well, pete. seeing these farms on my annual drive out to San Diego was the deciding factor. It is scandalous.

    Raw milk tastes SOOOO good. I know the farmer. I know the cheese maker. I’ll put my health in their hands before I do some CEO or the nanny, corrupt govt. any day of the week.

  18. OS,

    I’ve had both rattlesnake and alligator. Both are excellent with the caveat that alligator requires a lot of care in preparation or it can be as tough as eating an old spare tire.

Comments are closed.