Food Safety

Chicken imports still under scrutiny

The US government’s 2009 ban on chicken imports from China has been overturned by the World Trade Organization.

The US government’s 2009 ban on chicken imports from China has been overturned by the World Trade Organization (WTO), which says the ban on China’s poultry violates Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, as well as most-favored-nation treatment under the WTO rules.

“This clearly was a decision based on facilitating trade, not protecting the public health,” says Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT). “The evidence is overwhelming that the Chinese food safety system is inadequate, and this ruling is a gross violation of basic public health protections. It should be our utmost priority to protect our citizens, including their health, and that means scrutinizing products from countries whose food safety systems pose risks.”

The US can appeal the WTO ruling, and DeLauro says she hopes the government will do so.

Meanwhile, 25 Congress members sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to press Russia to end its six-month ban on chicken imports from the US. Russia closed its borders to US chicken in January, saying the US producers’ practice of using a chlorine solution to wash chicken products presents a food safety issue. The lawmakers point out the current washing solution has been in use since 1990 without any complaints from Russia.

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