Food Safety Magazine

News | November 13, 2013

Feathers Fly in Senator-vs.-FSIS Flap over Status of China's Poultry Slaughter System

By Heidi Parsons

Feathers Fly in Senator-vs.-FSIS Flap over Status of China's Poultry Slaughter System

Several news outlets, including the New York Daily News and CBS, reported that on Sunday, Nov. 10, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) publicly announced: "Unfortunately today I have bad news: The USDA is getting ready to allow chickens that are raised and processed in China to be sold here." (See the New York Daily News video here.)

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) responded as follows:

The Food Safety and Inspection Service released the following statement today following a press release from Senator Chuck Schumer's office regarding equivalency for China's poultry slaughter system.

"USDA has not found China's poultry slaughter system to be equivalent and therefore poultry slaughtered in China is not allowed to be imported to the United States. The U.S. food supply is among the safest in the world, and the Food Safety Inspection Service is dedicated to maintaining that status."

Background:

  • The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) is a regulatory agency and is bound by legal obligation to review requests from foreign countries that want to export product to the United States.

In December 2010, China requested FSIS to evaluate its poultry slaughter system and FSIS was legally obligated to move forward with an audit. FSIS has not released the results of this audit as it has not been finalized. If the audit reveals food safety issues with China's poultry slaughter system, then China will be required to take corrective actions and then be audited again in order for the process to continue.

Today, no press release regarding China's poultry slaughter system could be found on Senator Schumer's website.