China, the Chinese Chicken. Eat a drum stick, and your brain stops
tickin'." Words from "One Week", a song by the Canadian
group Bare Naked Ladies. If you have kids in their early thirties, you
know of this group.
But Congress must have taken these words
literally because they have banned cooked Chinese chicken supposedly so
we can keep our brains tickin'. There is nothing about their action that
is based on science, so I must assume they will quote these lyrics when
responding to the WTO complaint filed by China.
FSIS had done three audits of Chinese chicken slaughter and processing
systems, and found them to be at least equivalent to the US systems, a
prerequisite to any country wanting to export meat or poultry to the US.
In addition, if a final rule had been promulgated in the usual open and
transparent process, follow up activities would have included annual
audits of the Chinese food safety system, and reinspection of all
products exported to the United States. But FSIS has been effectively
banned from using any appropriated funds to finalize the rule that was
already in the process.
ironic twist, the EU, who does not think our antimicrobial treatments of
poultry are an effective way of promoting food safety, has given approval
for cooked Chinese chicken. And Japan, a nation noted for its almost
fanatical emphasis on food safety, has also OK'd cooked Chinese chicken
to be exported to Japan.
compound the irony going on here, let me provide you with two quotes:
2009 Meatingplace magazine, page 35, has Secretary Vilsack quoted as
saying: " In a recent meeting
with [World Trade Organization] officials, I tried to point out that
America wants the structure for trade to be based on rules and on science
so that there is a greater transparency and there are not phyto-sanitary
barriers constructed that are not based in science."
Trade Representative Kirk, in an address to the US Meat Export
Federation, is quoted as saying "More than a dozen countries imposed
trade restrictions on US agricultural products without scientific
justification as a result of that outbreak" (referring to the H1 N1
am missing something here, but it
seems to me that we are endorsing a double standard with our trading
partners, and before you jump all over me about Melamine in pet food and
antibiotics in fish, remember the differences in how FDA and USDA monitor
imported foods for safety.
a frank discussion about this predicament we have put ourselves in before
retaliation gets any worse.