The United States is planning to allow the sale of poultry meat processed in China, following a decision by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to give the green light to the imports of limited amounts of production manufactured by four poultry processing companies based in the Asian country, the New York Times reported.
The decision comes after lengthy negotiations between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Chinese industry representatives. At first, the processors will only be allowed to ship cooked poultry products from chickens raised in the United States or Canada.
Processors will have to certify that the birds used for the production were raised in North America, but there will be no USDA inspectors present at the facilities. Since the products will be processed, they will be exempt from the country-of-origin label rules, the New York Times said. It is possible that in time, the rules might be expanded to allow products from birds raised in China to reach U.S. consumers.
The news immediately sparked fears that food quality might be at risk, since China has a far worse food safety record in comparison to the United States. Its poultry industry in particular has been at the center of attention on numerous occasions, including a recent FDA investigation that exposed contaminated chicken jerky treats from China, which led to the death of more than 500 dogs and cats.