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Thursday, September 28, 2023


Department of Agriculture ends ban on Chinese chicken imports, invites danger to Americans

David Delgado//The Daily Cougar

David Delgado//The Daily Cougar

In what couldn’t have been more of an ill-timed revelation, NPR reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an end to the ban on processed chicken imported from China.

On its own, this doesn’t sound too shocking. Maybe a good thing, even, as it suggests an improvement in the quality of chicken that China’s now exporting.

While this is certainly useful information to us, we both know that this isn’t really newsworthy information on its own – unless, of course, there’s a catch.

Now that the ban’s been lifted, these chicken products aren’t required to have a country-of-origin label if they are sold in the U.S. Normally, this information would, in fact, be newsworthy on its own. Lucky for us, though, there’s more to come.

Earlier this year, The Salt reported thousands of dead swine discovered in the waters around Shanghai. Most relevant to Americans, though, is a recent outbreak of the H7N9 virus among the live fowl in some of China’s “fresh meat markets.”

The deregulation of country-of-origin labels simply isn’t something that’s beneficial to the American people in any way — especially in the midst of these disclosures coming to light.

Furthering public unrest, NPR also reported that the Government Accountability Office announced earlier this week that it has questions regarding the validity of new poultry inspection procedures the U.S. is planning to put into effect around the nation.

These new procedures would be effective in nearly all of the U.S.’s 239 poultry plants.

A downgrade in the quality of poor-quality food couldn’t have come at a worse time — for the future of the poor-quality food, that is. Within the past two years, many Americans have hopped on the conscience-driven bandwagon of what’s become known as the organic food movement.

Basically, more and more Americans are developing a taste (or trend) for locally grown, preservative-free foods. An increasing number of people are becoming willing to pay top dollar in order to ensure that their food was grown in an environmentally conscious way and is free of any potentially harmful chemicals or toxins.

This trendy, advantageous movement has taken hold of many Americans, most notably young adults and college students.

So, just so we’re all on the same page: at a time when food conscientiousness is at an all-time high, the U.S.D.A. announced a potential drop in the quality of processed food inspections. Oh, and that Americans will no longer be able to determine their processed chicken’s country of origin on the brink of China’s health code violations being exposed.

Sounds like a fun couple of years lie ahead for those involved in the processed food industries.

Finance sophomore Brenda Diaz voiced her disdain with the recent announcements.

“Hearing this, I’m definitely not going to consider eating fast food or processed food at all. This makes processed food much more undesirable than it already was.”

“Which, for me,” she added, “was pretty undesirable.”

Senior staff columnist Cara Smith is a communications junior and may be reached at [email protected]


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