Inspection of Chinese poultry-processing plants may signal opening for imported poultry for human consumption

FDA continues to investigate pet illnesses associated with Chinese chicken products.
Jan 25, 2013 DVM News Magazine
The export of poultry from China to the United States is currently prohibited–past food safety concerns, bird flu outbreaks, and even the frequent turnover of Chinese officials are all cited as reasons for the continued ban. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) spokesman, “FSIS is currently working with the Chinese government to develop a timeline to inspect poultry-processing plants in that country.” Some reports indicate that those inspections could be conducted in late January or early February in an apparent step toward lifting the U.S. ban on Chinese poultry.

Although banned from the U.S. poultry market for people, China does export chicken for pet food. But these products have been problematic in recent years. Since 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has conducted extensive testing on chicken jerky treats of Chinese origin. As of Dec. 17, 2012, the FDA has received 2,674 reports involving 3,243 dogs, including 501 deaths, and nine cats, including one death.

Much to the dismay of affected pet owners, the FDA has yet to indentify a contaminant or cause for illnesses associated with chicken imported from China and therefore will not enact a recall. It has issued a warning to pet owners of the possible dangers of feeding pets products such as Nestle’s Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch treats and Del Monte’s Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats. Presently, Milo’s Kitchen’s Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers treats are voluntarily recalled due to the unrelated discovery of trace amounts of prohibited antibiotics on these products.

Politically, the planned inspections could relax tense trade relations between the United States and China, which have been embattled in negotiations for the past seven years. China is anxious to export poultry, and the United States is interested in reversing China’s 2003 ban on American beef. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, representing U.S. ranchers and beef producers, estimated last year that the U.S. could be exporting $200 million of beef to China per year if the ban was lifted.

However, it seems one ban won’t be lifted unless the other is as well.

5 Responses to “Inspection of Chinese poultry-processing plants may signal opening for imported poultry for human consumption”

  1. JohnQPublic says:

    It is certainly hopeful that the U.S. WILL NOT simply do a quid pro quo, disregarding all of the standing complaints concerning Chinese chicken simply to export U.S. beef to China. It has been done before and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it were done in this case. Pressure could be exerted on certain entities to make the deal due to the fact that China makes certain loans to the U.S. in addition to wanting to buy our Beef products and export their chicken products for U.S. consumption. It has already been proven by the deaths of many, many deaths of family pets, that their chicken parts are not safe to consume. Do what’s right for America as a whole for a change, instead of what’s right for a few peoples pocket books.

  2. FlorencePS says:

    I’m really upset to find out that my dogs’ favorite treat, Chicken Jerky, is off the market due to another recall. Heaven’s sake, why can’t this be produced in the U.S. once and for all so we wouldn’t have to worry about harming our pets?!!! I’d pay the extra money just because both my dogs love it so much–it’s their morning treat after their first run of the day. Hmmm, maybe this is something I could make at home, so I know what’s going into it?

    Purdue, are you paying attention?

  3. Carol Sorsoleil says:

    My dog just got sick and almost died after eating Canine Carryouts by Del Monte. Her liver readings were consistant with ingestion of a serious toxin. What disturbs me most is that it only says “Distributed by Del Monte foods” and no where identifies these treats as ingredients from China. I am getting tired of a food industry that gets out of identifying product origin by saying “Distributed by”. I will make the assumption in the future that if it says” distributed by” on it it then this product is sourced in China and after my experience, stop buying these items for myself or my dog.

    • We are very sorry to hear about your dog getting sick. I suggest that you report this to the FDA and to
      In addition, we recommend that you purchase your pet foods from a reputable pet store (not the supermarket, etc.) and also not from a company that makes human food with a “division” that makes pet food. You want the manufacturer of your pets food to have their full focus on pet food and treats for your precious furry one.

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