Democrats included a provision in a federal spending bill that would prevent poultry processed in China from being used in the federal school lunch program, as well as other federal food programs. The $1.1-trillion spending bill is currently awaiting the President’s signature.
Four Chinese poultry-processing plants were approved earlier this year by the USDA to export cooked chicken to the U.S., as long as the poultry was raised and slaughtered in the U.S., Canada or Chile. Food safety advocates have pushed back on the USDA’s policy, expressing concern over China’s poor food safety record.
The amendment was introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and cosponsored by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), in part in response to the efforts of grassroots activists, who have organized online petitions urging lawmakers to take action on the issue.
Food Safety News reports:
“Banning Chinese chicken from school meals is a common-sense step to protect our kids,” DeLauro said in a statement. “China’s food safety record is atrocious, yet last year USDA deemed poultry processed in China to be as safe as poultry processed here. Children are among the most susceptible to foodborne illness. We cannot take unnecessary risks with their health.”
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