The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a controversial proposal to 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, even if the FSIS rule is finalized China would only be allowed to export cooked poultry products to the U.S. Comments on this proposal are due by Aug. 15.
FSIS states that if this rule is adopted all slaughtered poultry, or parts and products thereof, exported to the U.S. from China would be subject to re-inspection at U.S. ports of entry for transportation damage, product and container defects, labeling, 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.
China is currently eligible to export processed poultry products to the U.S. derived from poultry slaughtered in the U.S. or other countries eligible to slaughter and export poultry to the U.S. FSIS is proposing this change after having determined that China’s poultry slaughter inspection system is equivalent to that of the U.S. Press reports note that the Trump administration agreed to this change as part of a 100-day plan on trade with China.