The USDA recently approved that it’s ok for U.S. chicken to be shipped to China for processing, then shipped back to the U.S. for human consumption. This was previously not done because it was not seen as economically feasible. As it turns out, it’s already being done for some seafood, like salmon and crab from Alaska.
According to Tom Super, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council:
“Economically, it doesn’t make much sense,” Super said. “Think about it: Chinese company would have to purchase frozen chicken in the United States, pay to ship it 7,000 miles, unload it, transport it to a processing plant, unpack it, cut it up, process/cook it, freeze it, repack it, transport it back to a port, then ship it another 7,000 miles. I don’t know how anyone could make a profit doing that.”
Apparently it makes sense now. This is alarming, however, in light of the horrible Chinese food safety conditions. The USDA has no way of overseeing how clean some food processing plant in some backwater of China is.
This means that we’re not only outsourcing our manufacturing now, and our pollution with it, but we’re also starting to outsource our processing labor and services. Pretty soon we’ll fly to China to get a hair cut. Hey, it makes sense.
I am not in favor of excessive regulation. But we have the USDA in place to protect us from bad food products. Remember the toxic drywall from China a few years ago? Tens of thousands of houses were built with drywall that started to stink after a couple of years. Now we’re shipping our chicken to China so Chinese hands can touch them, before they show up in our children’s school lunches?
We need to figure out how to do things cheaper in the United States, or we’ll be a second-rate consumer nation completely under the economic and nutritional control of others, China foremost.
Make no mistake about it in this upcoming presidential election season: This is about jobs in the United States. Every chicken processing job is now at risk.