The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a final rule that, effective Dec. 9, will list China as eligible to export poultry products from birds slaughtered in China to the U.S.

However, because USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service currently classifies China as a region affected with highly pathogenic avian influenza subtype H5N1 as well as exotic Newcastle disease, China will only be allowed to export fully cooked-not shelf stable poultry products (i.e., no raw poultry or other processed poultry products) to the U.S. In addition, this rule only authorizes imports of such products from animals slaughtered on or after Dec. 9.

FSIS states that under this rule all approved poultry products exported to the U.S. from China will be subject to reinspection at U.S. ports of entry for transportation damage, product and container defects, labeling, proper certification, general condition, and accurate count. In addition, FSIS will conduct other types of reinspection activities, such as sampling and testing to detect any drug or chemical residues or pathogens that may render the product unsafe or any species or product composition violations that would render the product economically adulterated.

Products that pass reinspection will 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 will be refused entry and within 45 days must be exported to the country of origin, destroyed, or converted to animal food, depending on the violation.

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