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USDA Proposal Would Allow Imports of Mainland Chinese Cooked Poultry Products

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a controversial proposal to list mainland China as eligible to export poultry products from birds slaughtered in the mainland to the United States. However, because USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service currently classifies mainland China as a region affected with highly pathogenic avian influenza subtype H5N1 as well as exotic Newcastle disease, even if the FSIS rule is finalised mainland China would only be allowed to export cooked poultry products to the United States. Comments on this proposal are due by 15 August.

FSIS states that if this rule is adopted all slaughtered poultry, or parts and products thereof, exported to the United States from mainland China would be subject to re-inspection at U.S. ports of entry for transportation damage, product and container defects, labelling, proper certification, general condition, accurate count, etc. In addition, FSIS would conduct other types of re-inspection activities, such as incubation of canned products to ensure product safety and taking product samples for laboratory analysis for the detection of drug and chemical residues, pathogens, species and product composition.

Products that pass re-inspection would be stamped with the official U.S. mark of inspection and allowed to enter U.S. commerce. Those that do not meet U.S. requirements would be refused entry and within 45 days would have to be exported to the country of origin, destroyed or converted to animal food, depending on the violation.

Mainland China is currently eligible to export processed poultry products to the United States derived from poultry slaughtered in the United States or other countries eligible to slaughter and export poultry to the United States. FSIS is proposing this change after having determined that mainland China’s poultry slaughter inspection system is equivalent to that of the United States. Press reports note that the Trump administration agreed to this change as part of a 100-day plan on trade with mainland China.

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