Sen. Brown applauds USDA announcement haulting unsafe poultry from China

December 17, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC— Following the release of the 2013 audit of China’s poultry slaughter system by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded a decision by USDA to halt imports of unsafe poultry from China. The USDA audit found that China’s poultry slaughter system did not earn American equivalency standards, and today’s move will delay poultry slaughtered in China from being shipped to American restaurants and markets.

“Given the well-documented shortcoming of the Chinese food safety system, USDA inspectors must keep a watchful eye to ensure that any meat entering American markets meet our safety and sanitary requirements,” Brown said. “I’m glad USDA has taken action to protect Ohio families and consumers.”

The audit conducted by the FSIS found that China’s system for slaughter did not meet equivalence standards in two out of six testing areas – government oversight and statutory authority and food safety regulations. The Chinese government has submitted a corrective action plan and USDA inspectors will reevaluate the system following those corrective actions.

In September, Brown sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack demanding answers after USDA provided equivalency standards for poultry processing with the Chinese government. Brown asked for assurances that American consumers health and safety was not being endangered and that the agreement did not undermine confidence in our nation’s food safety system.

Brown has been a strong advocate in the Senate for food safety, and was instrumental in passing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, he passed legislation to give the FDA new authority to recall dangerous foods, improve the safety of imported products, and establish a comprehensive traceability system to quickly and accurately trace the source of tainted food in the event of a food-borne illness outbreak.

In 2012, Brown led the way in holding the Food and Drug Administration responsible after an Ohio family’s five-month old puppy, Penny, passed away after eating tainted chicken jerky made in China.