For a very brief while it appeared that the United States Department of Agriculture had some very good news for newlyweds and other traditionally inept cooks. WCBS reported the USDA was considering allowing chickens that had been raised and slaughtered in China to be imported into U.S. supermarkets.
I just assumed that if Chinese chickens contained the same proportion of asbestos that Chinese wallboard did, these birds would be impossible to burn!
Sen. Chuck Schumer, the publicity-hound Democrat from New York, who originated the story, did not share my enthusiasm. Instead he shared a TV camera with a Chinese chicken and declared, “China has a terrible record on health safety, and chickens are one of the things that need the most care and inspections.”
In the past Chinese chickens, as opposed to Chinese checkers, had only been allowed in the U.S. if they had been processed before shipment. This change, if approved, would mean that chickens that were virtual citizens of China — born and raised there — and then slaughtered before processing would be imported into the U.S.
It’s a well-known fact that official Chinese execution policies are pretty grim. Usually it’s a bullet to the back of the head and the deceased’s family is then billed for the bullet. But I don’t think this would apply to poultry.
Nonetheless, Schumer is adamant in his opposition; “China has been a massive source of food poisoning here in America for years.”
I certainly don’t want to downplay legitimate concern about the safety of the nation’s food supply. Particularly after we had all that trouble with salads over the summer. But it appears Schumer is something of a Chicken Little, which is nothing new for him. He’s made a career out of inflating imaginary crises if it means publicity.
In this instance the USDA issued a statement that said the consideration of the Chinese proposal was required by law and was not a free-range opinion issued by a low-level staffer.
What really stuck in Schumer’s craw was the possibility the Chinese slaughter system might be found equal to that in the U.S. But again Schumer has egg on his face: “USDA has not found China’s poultry slaughter system to be equivalent and therefore poultry slaughtered in China is not allowed to be imported to the United States. The U.S. food supply is among the safest in the world, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service is dedicated to maintaining that status.”
Which means once again Schumer’s relentless pursuit of media coverage has left him looking like a dumb cluck.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Click Here Now.
© Mike Reagan