Would You eat Chicken from China?

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Would You eat Chicken from China?

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get on a ship in China Mitch Lipka Oct 8th 2009 at 6:10PM MoreText SizeAAAFiled under: Food, Consumer Ally So, the U.S. Senate and House have agreed that... Why did the chicken cross the road? To get on a ship in China
Mitch Lipka
Oct 8th 2009 at 6:10PM

So, the U.S. Senate and House have agreed that it is now time to give consumers another Chinese product to help lower production costs, create more jobs overseas and increase corporate profits: chicken.

Chinese chicken imports had been banned for the past couple of years after Congress put the kibosh on a trade plan from the Bush administration in 2007. A U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection of Chinese poultry plants in 2004 documented poor sanitary conditions.

But the Obama administration appears to have succeeded where Bush failed, convincing Congress that Chinese chickens are good for relations with our manufacturing friends in the Far East.

Politics is great for delivering examples of how failure can be a good thing.

Shouldn't the line be drawn somewhere? Processed chicken seems like a good place to start.

Let's be clear: Chinese products are with us everywhere and the lower prices that come with them have become addictive to consumers.

Electronic equipment, toys, and even candy comes here by the freighter load and consumers buy it by the truckload. Some of it -- not that China has cornered the market on it -- is utter junk. And products made in China tend not only dominate what we find in discount stores, but also the list of products that are recalled due to defects or violations of safety rules.

American companies, such as chicken-producing giant Tyson Foods, played a role in pushing for the agreement that will open the doors to Chinese chicken products in the U.S. It owns chicken farms in China, and stands to profit mightily from the lower cost of doing business in China. Who can blame them?

The Chinese track record with food safety is abysmal. Less than a year ago, Chinese health officials (pictured above) killed and disposed of tens of thousands of chickens exposed to the avian flu. That was about the same time nearly 300,000 Chinese babies took ill after drinking melamine-tainted powdered milk. And, as it turns out, melamine also was found in chicken feed and, of course, in Chinese chicken products.

But Congress agreed to open the markets here to Chinese chicken provided an inspection process was instituted that supposedly would ensure Chinese chicken production would meet U.S. standards. That provision crumbled the opposition. U.S. Rep. Rosa Delauro, D-Conn., previously an opponent, explained in an article she penned for Roll Call that enough safeguards have been put in place for her to support the new plan.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, who has urged toughness regarding Chinese imports without a lot of success, said the whole issue comes down to a game of chicken.

""The Chinese don't play fair, and we've been cowards," the senator told Fortune. "Every time China threatens, we back off."

The U.S. market for apple juice (what's more American than that?) is dominated by products whose roots are a powdery concentrate shipped on freighters in 55-gallon drums from where else but China. Most U.S. consumers don't care, or at least don't pay much attention, to China being the nation of origin of most of the "juice" in drink boxes and apple juice bottles sold in this country. And since no big problems have been reported with Chinese apple products they have become ubiquitous here. Only a handful of companies claim to only use U.S.-grown apples.

Not long ago I bought a piece of frozen salmon in a package. Even though I obsessively check certain products for nation of origin labeling, I didn't notice this one until it was too late: China. My salmon was from China. I have lived in Alaska and fished salmon from Nushagak Bay on the Bering Sea coast. To the fine people there, I apologize.

Perhaps it is a simplistic notion or overly protectionist, but with the backdrop of millions of recalled products, melamine-tainted food and bird flu on the resume of the nation of origin, is it too much to ask of the U.S. government to refrain from giving passports to millions of pounds of processed Chinese chicken products?           

Would You eat Chicken from China? Aol had this story.

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

Would I eat chicken from China? Heck, I don't even want to use china from China. I bought some really cheap pasta bowls at the local dollar store, and I'm afraid of them. I curse the zealous frugality that drives me to buy things that I fear might slowly kill me, just to save a few dollars. I should have my  head examined.

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

I wouldn't want to eat chicken from Tyson, or Perdue.  Much less the melamine-enhancement capital of the world...

>shudder<

Viva -- Sager

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

This reminds me of when Hong Kong had a problem with H5N1 on its chicken farms, possibly   due to importation (illegal) of fertilized eggs from China

http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=184695

http://www.reuters.com/article/naturalResources/idUSPEK7664320081211

 

I would worry about this issue since it is really cheaper to sell the birds than cull them when an outbreak occurs. I have often wondered where those bird flu infected birdies end up after they are culled.  I don't know if the virus transmits after the birds are frozen for transport.

I don't eat chicken but if I did I would avoid imported birds as the risk of bacterial infections (e.coli, salmonella) would seem to increase  due to the risk of prolonged transport by ship and air which makes it harder to keep temperatures consistent.  

I am worried about chinese imports and I won't even drink chinese tea anymore. The people running these businesses are very bottom line oriented and are not always so well educated, they seem to do foolish things because they do not understand the consequences (like the melamine issue where it was obvious they would get caught IMHO). But maybe I am underestimating the level of malice involved in these contamination scandals.

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

I think the Chinese do a very good job of eliminating their toxic waste by dumping it in products to the US! Tongue out

 

BTW:  I love tyson chicken wings!  I think all the preservatives and growth hormones help preserve us older folks. Tongue out

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

What prompted me to post this article was a report my father told me about yesterday. Apparently it's airing on Dish network. I'll have to get the details from his wife.

China is raising chemical-pumped chickens (colored dyes and preservatives and God knows what else) and shipping them to companies in Canada who are then repackaging them for export to America and elsewhere. The "consumer" looks at the product in the store and sees "product of Canada" when they buy it.

My mother-in-law said she'll never eat another chicken again. I'll have to get some photos/video of it.

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

I have read articles that described exactly what xraymike79 just posted.. but also included fish... fish sticks and breaded fish from canada could be suspect..

 

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

Just get to know a farmer,find a common price for birds and have the farmer raise the birds for you.

yawl should do this with an increasing [ercentage of your food until you're off the system.

 

robie

husband,father,farmer,optometrist

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

Robie, I couldn't agree more.

My wife runs a co-op that supplies 26 families. What we can't produce ourselves, we get from the co-op. We also have chickens and other critters and very seldom go to the store anymore. It's liberating. I highly encourage anyone who reads this to find a way to get off the food grid permanently, even if you doubt there will be disturbances to supply in the future, there simply is no downside.

R

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

It's really quite simple:

1. Eat real food produced in your local area by organic farmers.

2. Don't eat stuff that comes in packages.

If people followed these two guidelines, industrial agriculture and food production would be finished.

 

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

Switters,

I noticed you put the organic caveat in your post. Do you really think there is a true benefit, or is it just another form of marketing? I've heard both sides of the argument and I am honestly on the fence.

I have read that if the world was forced into 100% organics, it could not support the current population. There is a video on this site somewhere (man I wish I could come up with a link for this post) that discusses this, and how "wonder bread" meaning mass produced empty calories is what powers the world's population.

Best,

R

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

Ready said:

I noticed you put the organic caveat in your post. Do you really think there is a true benefit, or is it just another form of marketing? I've heard both sides of the argument and I am honestly on the fence.

I have read that if the world was forced into 100% organics, it could not support the current population. There is a video on this site somewhere (man I wish I could come up with a link for this post) that discusses this, and how "wonder bread" meaning mass produced empty calories is what powers the world's population.

Would like to see that "Wonder Bread" video you are talking about. But here's a video explaing why the "Wonder Bread" world is unsustainable:

http://fora.tv/2009/05/05/Michael_Pollan_Deep_Agriculture

http://blog.longnow.org/2009/05/06/michael-pollan-deep-agriculture/

 

  So, we, you know, we looked at this question, we looked at this question right after 9/11 and there was all this talk about the threat of bioterrorism and the vulnerability of the American food system, and Tommy Thompson when he was leaving Health and Human Services as Secretary, he said, you know, “The biggest surprise in all my years in government since 9/11 is that they haven't attacked our food system because it would be so easy to do.” And, in fact, the GAO studied this question and they said, “Yes, a highly centralized food system is exquisitely vulnerable to both deliberate and accidental contamination.” Did we move toward decentralizing, however? No. We didn’t take a single step in that direction and the subject was quietly dropped, because it was an enormous threat to very powerful interests in this country. So, there are many, many reasons to decentralize the food system. .... ----Michael pollan, Georgia Organics conference in Douglas, GA on March 9,2009

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

Hi Roger,

I'm not 100%, but I think maybe this is the film you were referring to ... :-

Louise Fresco on feeding the whole world

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/louise_fresco_on_feeding_the_whole_world.html

Best,

Paul

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

Yup Paul, you nailed it.

Haven't seen you around much lately, hope all is well.

Thx.

R

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

Humorous perspective:

tumblr_krfknhLEVF1qzlqlz.jpg
6. Organic Food

   Because of their balance of global wealth and power, there is a general assumption that white people are pretty shrewd. And for the most part, history has proven this to be true. But white people have one great weakness; organic food.

   Just as with farmer’s markets, white people believe that organic food is grown by farmers who wear overalls, drive tractors, and don’t use pesticides. In spite of the fact that most organic food is made by major agribusiness, which just uses it as an excuse to jack up prices, white people will always lose their mind for organic anything. Never mind the fact that if the entire world were to switch to 100% organic food tomorrow there would be mass starvation and famine.

   White people don’t care about this. As long as they aren’t eating pesticides, they are pretty sure they can live forever. It’s almost gauranteed that if some Colombian drug lord can start offering “organic” cocaine, he’ll be the richest guy ever.

agribusiness | Tumblr

 

Oil and chemical companies have been particularly generous in providing materials to help explain nature to young people; materials that portray nature as a valuable resource for human use & that celebrate concepts such as “managing nature” through chemicals, pesticides, and large scale agribusiness. Thus, a generation of youngsters is trained to regard nature in a way that coincides with corporate objectives.

agribusiness | Tumblr

Cattle Company Forces Change in Michael Pollan University Lecture ...

10-16-2009

Where’s the beef? At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

After receiving pressure from the owner of an agribusiness — that just happens to be a major donor — the university decided to turn what was to be a guest lecture by noted sustainable agriculture guru Michael Pollan, into a “panel discussion” including a scientist favored by the beef industry, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In an angry September 23rd letter to the university president, David E. Wood, chairman of the Harris Ranch Beef Co., wrote:

“While I understand the need to expose students to alternative views, I find it unacceptable that the university would provide Michael Pollan an unchallenged forum to promote his stand against conventional agricultural practices..”

Allowing Pollan to speak unchallenged had made Wood “rethink [his] continued financial support of the university.” Wood has pledged $150,000 toward a new meat processing plant on campus.....

Big Ag is all based on petrolium and petrochemicals, so obviously it's unsustainable. Just read Chris's recent blog:

Exponential Money in a Finite World

 

and this:

The oil we eat: Following the food chain back to Iraq—By Richard ...


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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

Mike, thanks for that. Funny, and pretty much the point I was asking Switters about...

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

The world population probably couldn't be supported on organic food. At the end of the 19th century there was a real concern about the ability of agriculture as it was then practiced to keep pace with the population at the time. They anticipated mass famine and dieoffs by the '30s. The invention of industrial nitrogen fixing made a vast amount of fertilizer available. Later pesticides reduced the amount of food lost to insect pests. You can read about this in "The Alchemy of Air," an interesting book.

But this is all dependent on VAST fossil fuel inputs to work. As oil becomes more expensive so too do all its products, things made from it or the energy contained by it. I would expect that we will see the limits of industrial agriculture in the next decade, if not sooner. We have so enormously overshot the earth's carrying capacity that the moment the fragile fossil-fuel driven agircultural network has a problem we will start to see starvation very soon after.

We eat local. It makes the most sense, of you can.

Arthur

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

Now I know what I know, I wouldn't buy/consume chicken I didn't raise myself....  Recently saw a UK show stariing some clever [organic] cook called Hugh who teaches people to eat/cook [http://www.rivercottage.net/FoodMatters/33/FoodFuturesFeedingtheNextGeneration.aspx] properly, and he had a guest scientist chemist/nutritionis fella who explained that over the past 30 or 40 years chicken has become just as obese and unhealthy as your average westerner, and for the SAME REASONS, overfed and under exercised.

Grass fed free range organic chicken meat contains TEN TIMES more Omega 3 fatty acids than store bought crap, and less than half the fat content, so seeing as you'll only ever be able to buy Chinese chicken in stores....... it's a big NO from me!!!

Mike

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

"The world population probably couldn't be supported on organic food."

I disagree. BUT, and yes, it is a big but, we would all have to totally change the way we live, and live to produce our food using permaculture principles where zero inputs are necessary. We still have enough FFs to transition to this if we actually wanted to..... but do most people want to? I doubt it!  Have you looked at this yet? http://tinyfarmblog.com/about-the-farming/

Americans eat to live, the French live to eat!

Mike

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

I don't think it's realistic to assume that almost 7 billion people are suddenly going to be able to stop their lives in midstream and suddenly start permaculture practices on the back 40. I think most people will just end up starving and/or fighting.

We'll know how it all turns out soon enough.

Arthur

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

Hugh Fernly-Whitingstall  "The Meat Book" is my HERO!!

and yawl thought it was Dr.CM

 

Robie

husband,father,farmer,optometrist

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

No, not all of them, but when you get hungry, you can do amazing things...... Cuba did!

Mike

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

Cuba was able to keep a government infrastructure in place that maintained order. And it was already largely agrarian, though dependent on fossil fuels to a great extent than today. The bulk of the world's population currently lives in cities. There is not enough land in cities to provide food for the populace, so that food will have to come from outside somewhere - or the residents of the city will need to go somewhere else to buy/steal/grow it. I don't see this as a recipe for order - it feels a lot more like inevitable chaos.

I'm fortunate to live in a county in Northern California that has a large agricultural base. One can live - quite comfortably - on the meat, dairy and produce from this county without needing to go anywhere else. The million+ people just to the south of us are not so fortunate, but they know what's up here...

Arthur

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Re: Would You eat Chicken from China?

To be honest, I avoid chicken from America, let alone China. I try to be a localvore and since I live in Canada... ;)

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