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Consumer Union comments on USDA/FSIS proposal to allow chicken exports from China

SUMMARY: Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports, writes in opposition to the proposal by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to allow the export of poultry products from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the U.S. We urge FSIS to reject this proposal and not allow the import of birds slaughtered in China, on the grounds that while Chinese food safety laws may be “equivalent” to U.S. food safety laws, there is strong reason to believe that enforcement of such laws is not effective. Failures in enforcement are of particular concern with regard to illegal additives and the potential health risks of chicken imported from China being contaminated with mcr-1, the gene for resistance to colistin, a last-line antimicrobial and a gene that is currently very rare in the U.S.