Your chicken nuggets may soon come from China

The USDA lifts a ban on Chinese processed poultry exports, but it has no way to monitor how the food will be handled there.

By Jason Notte Sep 5, 2013 12:28PM
Chickens are seen at a poultry farm in Liaocheng, China (© ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)Why worry about rivers of pig carcasses, tons of feces-fed tilapia and a newfound hunger for U.S. food conglomerates in China? It's not as if its long-banned chicken imports are coming back, right?

Well, maybe it's time to worry a bit.


While many shoppers were stocking up for their Labor Day weekend cookouts on Friday, the Department of Agriculture announced it had ended a ban on Chinese chicken imports and allowed four of the country's poultry processors to ship "heat-treated/cooked" chicken to the U.S. The USDA's audit attempted "to determine whether the People's Republic of China's (PRC) food safety system governing poultry processing remains equivalent to that of the United States (U.S.), with the ability to produce products that are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled."


The Chinese plants passed, but even Chinese officials must have been somewhat surprised.


As Bloomberg reported, a senior Chinese policymaker involved in developing food safety standards told reporters at a press conference that essentially, China would have a tough time meeting world standards. China's food supply seldom, if ever, meets USDA standards.


That doesn't bode well for China's return to the U.S. poultry market. Bloomberg said the initial plans call for chickens to be "slaughtered in the U.S. (or another nation that's allowed to export slaughtered chicken to the U.S.), then shipped to China for processing and re-export." Unfortunately, according to The New York Times, no USDA inspectors will be allowed in the Chinese processing plants. Also, because the chicken will be processed, USDA rules say they won't need point-of-origin labeling.


Basically, not only is a country that has never been allowed to export chicken to the U.S. being allowed to process chicken without any supervision, but consumers will have no way to tell if chicken nuggets were processed in the U.S. or in China.


MSN moneyNOW sent e-mail to contacts at McDonald's (MCD) to see if the fast-food giant's sourcing for its Chicken McNuggets and other chicken products would change as a result of the USDA ruling. We received no response and, at this point, are as much in the dark about future chicken sourcing as the average U.S. consumer.

More on moneyNOW

91Comments
Sep 5, 2013 1:15PM
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I will not knowingly eat a food product from China.  I don't trust their food safety. 
Sep 5, 2013 1:56PM
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All I can say is WTF!! if the chicken is from the US why not just process it here and keep it here???

Sep 5, 2013 1:50PM
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So don't eat any more chicken nuggets !!!!!!  If we can't check on them lets just avoid them !!!!!
Sep 5, 2013 2:21PM
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This has to be a joke.  Chicken from China?!  Remember those exposes on the way the birds are produced and processed there?  I will not consume the stuff.

 What in the name of God is happening to the United States?   

Sep 5, 2013 2:01PM
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This is so stupid.  The US has enough chicken to meet the needs of consumers here.  We have a few too many food recalls here without getting potentially poisoned food from overseas. We couldn't trust the Chinese with our pet food and now they want to export chicken to us.   I already try to limit fish I buy from various Asian countries.  Although fresh and frozen food is supposed to be labeled as to country of origin, if not a product of the USA, food from grocery delis depends on state laws.  But it sounds like the Chinese processed chickens will get around those labeling rules.  Time to watch out for rotisserie chickens, fried chicken, wings, and anything from restaurants.  Time to become a vegetarian.
Sep 5, 2013 2:19PM
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Let's see..the Made in China chicken dog treats have been blamed for many dog deaths..and now the USDA is going to allow China to process for  human chicken "treats"?  Oh boy...what is wrong here..
Sep 5, 2013 1:31PM
Sep 5, 2013 2:24PM
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The cesspool of stupidity in our government is just astounding.  Any food that comes from china should be thrown in the trash and not consumed by humans.  Now the government is going to allow Chinese food to poison it's citizens.  I will never eat another chicken nugget again.
Sep 5, 2013 1:54PM
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Until you quit wasting time in white collar jobs with qualifications based on dubious college degrees and start farming or working on a farm, you will be fed what the government supported corporations want.
Sep 5, 2013 2:14PM
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Aren't they are the one who sold us the tainted sheetrock (formaldehyde) and bad tires for our cars and trucks?  Now our FOOD?  I don't think so!!!!  No Way, NaDa,  
Sep 5, 2013 1:37PM
Sep 5, 2013 1:40PM
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No processed yard bird for this old pit bull.  I'll stick to the nice fresh chickens thanks...
Sep 5, 2013 2:27PM
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Export 1 lb of chicken meat and get back 2 lbs of nuggets. 

 ---- Business run by Sum Ting Wong.
Sep 5, 2013 2:15PM
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I will NEVER eat polluted Chinese chicken (dog, cat, wild animal, rotted meat, bugs, larvae, bio-waste) nugget from a dictatorship, a country committing on top of it, cultural genocide in the free nation of Tibet.
Sep 5, 2013 2:33PM
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It just gets sicker and sicker.

 

They want to screw with the American farmers more and more.

 

I guess we have no choice. Our government will turn us communist by the next president.

 

So much for standards and freedom.

Sep 5, 2013 2:24PM
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Well well well.  Looks like living in Europe seems like a better idea by the minute.  Dang Euro trash people and their high standards for food and drugs.
Sep 5, 2013 2:10PM
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Will not affect me, I haven't eat at Mac D's in years, in the US that is, food isn't bad in Austria or Germany, EU has much stronger regs for food.
Sep 5, 2013 2:35PM
Sep 5, 2013 3:05PM
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Chicken from a country that doesn't mind poisoning it's own people? I eat a lot of chicken and now I wonder where I'll get my chicken that won't make me sick. I hope that all chicken grown and processed in the good old USA will mark their products in bold print so we can know it's safe . Either that or they will go out of business because if the buyer can't tell, why buy and take the chance of illness or poisoning. I threw out 10 pounds of tilapia because the 

first bunch tasted of mud. I read the small print and there it was....China. Now I try to find out where my purchase comes from and I will NOT buy from China.

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