Last year the USDA has announced it will allow four Chinese poultry producers to ship chicken to the United States. Given China’s food safety record, this could be disastrous for the U.S. These Chinese companies will be processing American chickens and shipping them back to the United States as cooked chicken products. No U.S. inspectors will be present in the Chinese processing facilities, and the chickens, once shipped back, will be indistinguishable from domestically raised poultry. They may even be labeled as U.S. chicken because they were raised here, despite being processed in potentially dangerous Chinese facilities.
China’s track record on food safety is far from good. Melamine-tainted milk in China sickened over 300,000 children and killed six in 2007. Melamine-tainted dog food also killed many pets in the U.S. during the same year — and is still a problem today. Now jerky dog treats from China are killing and sickening pets in the U.S., but government agencies have so far been unable to determine what the contaminant is.
The United States is still the greatest agricultural nation in the world. There may be certain specialty items worth importing from other countries, but for the most part we can provide for ourselves. Why do we need to send the chickens we raise here to China for processing when American workers can do it here in the U.S. and with better safety standards? Why do we need dog treats from China when we have everything we need to make them right here in the United States?
We have left our borders open to these products due to our “free trade” agreements. These misguided agreements make it attractive for business owners to move operations overseas to make a quick profit, or to import substandard products in order to get rich. All too often our politicians look at these apparent gains while failing to look at the real cost. These policies are costing us jobs, and perhaps more importantly they are threatening the health of every American. It is time to wise up and fix the mess our leaders have given us.