Press Release: Report Admits Ag Department Cannot Verify Safety of Food from China and Brazil

October 18, 2017

CPA calls for a Halt to Unsafe Meat/Poultry Imports 


Washington - The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) called upon the US government to halt all Brazilian fresh meat and Chinese poultry imports that are not verified to be as safe as US produced food.  The US Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released an October 13, 2107 audit report stating that the Food Safety Inspection Service is failing to verify that imported food meets safety standards that are equivalent to US standards. CPA believes Brazilian fresh meat and Chinese poultry should not be sold to consumers until those products can be determined consistently safe.

“USDA discriminates in favor imported food products through lax or unenforced standards in relation to American food products,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of CPA. “US meat and poultry producers have government inspectors in their plants daily to determine safety. Record keeping documentation is significant. Critical control point systems are verified and upgraded regularly. Imported products are not subject to these standards and are not labeled as to country of origin.” 

Instead of direct inspection, the multinational food import lobby helped establish lax laws creating the illusion of foreign country food safety “equivalence”. Under these laws, the USDA is supposed to verify that other countries’ food safety system - on paper - is “equivalent” to the US system.  But the USDA report found that the agency does not do so. The Food Safety Inspection Service fails to audit equivalent countries on an adequate basis, the FSIS inspection program is vulnerable to weaknesses and, as a result, the agency could be allowing unsafe imports.  These failures increase the risk to public health within the United States, according to the report. 

“Equivalency is inherently a fictional standard which pretends to establish that imported food is subject to the same safety standards as US produced food,” said Stumo. “Equivalency should be eliminated in favor of direct inspection and testing which is truly the same as for domestic meat and poultry. In the meantime, the USDA should refuse to allow imported meat and poultry from countries with questionable food safety systems, especially from Brazil and China.”

About CPA: The Coalition for a Prosperous America is the nation’s premier organization working on the intersection of trade, jobs, tax and economic growth. We represent the interests of 4.1 million households through our agricultural, manufacturing and labor members.

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