Chinese Poultry Plants May Now Re-export Chicken to USA

Four Chinese poultry processing factories have been authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to export fully-cooked frozen and refrigerated chicken to the USA. The decision came despite concerns about the PRC’s food safety record by American consumer groups.

“China’s food safety system is a wreck,” said Washington, DC-headquartered Food & Water Watch in a statement issued on November 6. “There have been scores of food safety scandals in China, and the most recent ones have involved expired poultry products sold to US fast food restaurants based in China. Now, we have FSIS [the USDA’s Food and Safety Inspection Service] moving forward to implement this ill-conceived decision, and it has not even audited the Chinese food safety system in over 20 months.”

The approved poultry plants are No. 2 Meat Product Processing Plant of Weifang Legang Food Co., Qingyun Ruifeng Food Co., Shandong Delicate Food Co., and Qingdao Nine Alliance Group Co. They are only allowed to re-export chicken that has been initially slaughtered in the United States or another nation that has permission to export slaughtered chickens to the USA.

According to the USDA, audits it conducted in March found that the four since approved plants met the same processing standards as those in effect in the United States. As such, it declared that products produced on the premises are "safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled.”

Larry Cope, chief executive officer of Smithfield, Virginia-headquartered Smithfield Foods, applauded the USDA action. “This means increased capacity for US producers, more jobs in processing and more exports,” he said. “At the same time, we will continue to supply our same high-quality, renowned products to US consumers.”

Smithfield, it should be noted, merged with China’s Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. earlier this year. The $7.1 billion deal was reportedly the biggest Chinese corporate takeover of a US company in history.