Archive for the ‘Food Quality’ Category

Have you ever wondered why Rotisserie chickens are so cheap? They actually cost less than a chicken that you could buy to fix yourself

by John Lott on Friday, August 1st, 2014

This is article 70 of 70 in the topic Food/Natural Remedies
Megan McArdle deserves a hat tip for pointing to this article by Cat Vasko:

A couple of years ago, I got it into my head that I wanted to roast a whole chicken, just because. I wandered around my local Ralphs for a few minutes looking for poultry that hadn’t already been turned into individually shrink-wrapped meat units before asking for help. The gentleman I flagged down blinked a few times at my question. “Um,” he answered finally. “You know we have chickens for sale up at the front of the store that have already been cooked, right?”

I bought the raw chicken anyway. I took it home, rubbed it in butter and herbs, shoved a lemon half up its butt, and roasted it low and slow for the majority of the day. It turned out okay. For all the work it took, it certainly wasn’t notably better than a store-bought rotisserie chicken, and with the other ingredients factored in, it cost significantly more. Right now, an uncooked chicken at Ralphs runs you $9.87, but a rotisserie chicken is $6.99; at Gelson’s, you’ll pay $8.99 for a cooked chicken or $12.67 for the raw version; and at that beloved emporium of insanity Whole Foods, a rotisserie chicken is $8.99, while a whole chicken from the butcher counter is $12.79 … per pound. . . .

Even Whole Foods’ notoriously inflated prices don’t offset that level of production. Instead, much like hunters who strive to use every part of the animal, grocery stores attempt to sell every modicum of fresh food they stock. Produce past its prime is chopped up for the salad bar; meat that’s overdue for sale is cooked up and sold hot. Some mega-grocers like Costco have dedicated rotisserie chicken programs, but employees report that standard supermarkets routinely pop unsold chickens from the butcher into the ol’ rotisserie oven. . . .

 

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Beware GMOs; They Set You Up For Cancer, Other Diseases

by Bob Livingston on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

This is article 69 of 70 in the topic Food/Natural Remedies
Beware GMOs; They Set You Up For Cancer, Other Diseases

THINKSTOCK

If you were to write a movie about evil scientists plotting to insert secret ingredients into the food supply in order to make humans sick, you’d have a hard time coming up with something more inventive and potentially more dangerous than genetically modified (GMO) food.

Even though GMO ingredients are not listed on food labels, they have already infiltrated our dinner plates. And this technological change to our food has the potential for sabotaging the world’s food supply. Sadly, most Americans don’t even realize they eat GMO food at just about every meal. In particular, the soy and corn ingredients of our favorite dishes almost always contain GMO ingredients.

U.S. farmers and farmers around the world plant vast amounts of these laboratory-created crops. In particular, soy, corn and cotton (processed food frequently has cottonseed oil added to it) have been genetically engineered to contain toxic pesticides and to withstand massive amounts of herbicides that are applied to farm fields. This allows GMO crops to survive and be harvested while weeds in the fields are supposed to wither and die.

Of course, other beneficial living things like honeybees, other pollinators and a wide collection of wildlife also perish from massive pesticide exposure. And the pesticides often persist long enough to poison our water and air.

According to estimates by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, since GMO crops were introduced in the 1990s, 1 billion acres worldwide have been planted with these plants. That’s an area larger than the continental United States.

GMO proponents argue that the technology is safe, but recent discoveries about what happens in the genetic material of altered organisms are not reassuring. Understand that we are not talking about hybridization, which is the process of cross breeding similar plants in order to create a superior variety or achieve a specific characteristic. Creating GMO plants is much different and can involve replacing, swapping or splicing genes or inserting viruses into the genes themselves in order to alter their very nature.

In theory, altering an organism’s genetic material seems simple and precise. The process is supposed to consist of extracting a desirable gene from one plant or animal and inserting it into another.

Suppose, for example, one wants to create tomatoes that can withstand cold weather. In theory, genes that allow a frost-resistant plant to survive freezing temperatures are extracted and put it into the tomato plant. When seeds of the new tomato plant grow, the presence of this genetic material stimulates activity in the new plants that keep them alive as the temperature drops.

In practice, however, this leads to unforeseen consequences. Only recently have scientists discovered that the genes scientists insert into plants are often contaminated with unintended material, including viruses.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has discovered that when lab scientists altered genes in GMO food, they were also feeding in parts of a virus gene. No one had ever noticed that before.

This virus gene, however, is now in the food we eat. Is it safe? Will it lead to some type of new illness among the millions of people who consume it? Experts can’t say.

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Should the Government Tell You What to Eat?

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, July 24th, 2014

This is article 68 of 70 in the topic Food/Natural Remedies

By Alan Caruba
Given the successive scandals and monster laws like Obamacare that have been imposed on Americans, the federal government’s efforts to control and determine what you eat doesn’t receive the attention that it should. The ultimate question is whether the government should tell you what to eat and then seek to enforce their views about it? The answer is no.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is one of those federal entities that should have no role in determining what is on your plate, but among its recommendations is the promotion of “a plant-based diet, reduced meat consumption, and only eating fish after reading up on which are good for you.” Meanwhile the food police have been warning against the natural element of mercury in fish even though it is so small as to constitute no health threat.

Hanns Kuttner, a senior research fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Washington, D.C.  domestic and foreign policy think tank, says that the working premise of the committee is that a “good diet would increase consumer’s costs and imply the end of entire sectors of American agriculture—all in an effort to regulate behavior that has nothing to do with nutrition.” The committee, since 2010, “has not included a member who has any knowledge of food production and food regulation.”

The committee reflects the United Nations global campaign to encourage the consumption of insects. If you love dining on bugs, the UN wants this to be a part of everyone’s diet. According to Eva Muller, the director of Food and Agricultural Organizations Forest Economics, Policy and Products Division, bugs “are nutritious, they have a lot of protein and are considered a delicacy in many countries.”

It should come as no surprise that Michelle Obama is leading the food police at this point. A program of the U.S. Agriculture Department announced new rules in 2013 to remove high caloric food and drink items from cafeterias and campuses of schools around the country. As of this year, sodas, sports drinks, and candy bars are banned. Only diet drinks, granola bars, and fruit are acceptable.

This is Big Government at work, but no one expects that kids will go along, nor are shoppers likely to embrace a U.S. Department of Agriculture report that wants to steer them toward more fruits and vegetables and away from sugar and fat-laden items. The new guide was written for the 47 million Americans who participate in the food stamp program. Yes, 47 million!

Michelle Obama also favors costly–$30,000 each—grocery carts that are color-coded to “help” consumers selected approved food items. This kind of intrusiveness is obnoxious.

Victor Skinner of the Education Action Group noted in early July that “The federal government’s attempt to force public school students to eat ‘healthier’ lunches is falling apart at the seams.” The New York Times News Service reported that the School Nutrition Association (SNA) which initially welcomed the bans is now lobbying Congress to dial back on the “overly prescriptive” and expensive changes.

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Michelle Obama’s control-freak lunch program

by Michelle Malkin on Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

This is article 66 of 70 in the topic Food/Natural Remedies

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 2.07.07 AMMichelle Obama’s control-freak lunch program
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2014

Look out, everyone: The nation’s school lunch lady, Michelle Obama, is mad. With her federal nutrition program under fire across the country and now on Capitol Hill, Mrs. Obama put out a “forceful” call to arms this week to “health activists,” according to The Washington Post.

She’s cracking the whip. Her orders are clear: There must be no escape. The East Wing and its sycophants zealously oppose any effort to alter, delay or waive top-down school meal rules.

Big Lunch must be guarded at all costs.

Progressives blame kid-hating Republicans and greedy businesses for the revolt against Mrs. Obama’s failed policies. But the truth is right around the corner in your students’ cafeterias. Districts are losing money. Discarded food is piling high. Kids are going off-campus to fill their tummies or just going hungry.

According to the School Nutrition Association, almost half of school meal programs reported declines in revenue in the 2012-13 school year, and 90 percent said food costs were up. Local nutrition directors are demanding more flexibility and freedom. Look no further than school districts in Los Angeles and Chicago.

As I noted in 2011, the L.A. Unified School District pronounced the first lady’s federally subsidized initiative a “flop” and a “disaster.” Principals reported “massive waste, with unopened milk cartons and uneaten entrees being thrown away.” The problem has only worsened. The Los Angeles Times reported last month that the city’s students throw out “at least $100,000 worth of food a day — and probably far more,” which “amounts to $18 million a year.”

Draconian federal rules dictate calorie counts, whole-grain requirements, the number of items that children must put on their trays, and even the color of the fruits and vegetables they must choose. Asked for a solution, LAUSD Food Service Director David Binkle told the Times bluntly: “We can stop forcing children to take food they don’t like and throw in the garbage.”

Or you can do what Arlington Heights District 214 in Michelle Obama’s home state of Illinois just did: Vote yourselves out of the unsavory one-size-fits-all mandate. Last week, the state’s second largest school district decided to quit the national school lunch program altogether. Officials pointed out that absurd federal guidelines prevented them from offering hard-boiled eggs, hummus, pretzels, some brands of yogurt, and nonfat milk in containers larger than 12 ounces.

The district will deliberately forgo $900,000 in federal aid and instead rely on its own nutritionist to devise healthy choices that students actually want. One local parent summed it up well: “(T)he government can’t control everything.”

As more schools look to withdraw, you can bet on the White House to ramp up the Republican-bashing rhetoric. Mrs. Obama’s advocates have already taken to social media to complain about Big Business special interests. But let’s remember: Mrs. Obama has been working the food circuit since 2005, when the wife of newly elected Sen. Barack Obama was named to the corporate board of directors of Wal-Mart processed foods supplier TreeHouse Foods Inc. — collecting $45,000 in 2005, $51,200 in 2006, and 7,500 TreeHouse stock options worth more than $72,000 for each year.

Fact: The first lady has been the most insatiable crony at the center of the Fed Foods racket.

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It’s a Very Complex World

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, May 18th, 2014

This is article 95 of 95 in the topic Environmental

In the 1980s I devoted a lot of effort to debunking a torrent of Green lies about pesticides and herbicides. This was before the Greens latched onto “global warming” which has since become “climate change” and the subject of a recent White House report filled with dire predictions of planetary doom and disaster.

Nobody died from using pesticides or herbicides in the 1980s or since unless they drank it straight from the bottle. When I talked with farmers they would frequently say “Do you think I would put this stuff on the crops my family eats if I thought it would harm them?” The Greens have always attacked anything that would increase crop growth by limiting the real harm of weeds or the predation of insect species. These days genetically modified seeds are a target for environmentalists though studies have amply demonstrated their crops are safe to eat.

Less food means less people and that has always been a major goal of the people leading the nation’s and the world’s major environmental organizations. The same formula applies to denying energy to people worldwide.

As for pesticides, we all use them to keep our homes and workplaces free of insects that are the key vectors for all manner of diseases. In a world before their invention, millions died from mosquito-borne diseases such as Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Encephalitis, West Nile virus and Malaria. Millions still die from malaria and these diseases because one of the most effective pesticides ever invented was DDT and it was banned because of the lies Rachel Carson told in her iconic, environmental book, “Silent Spring.”

The world is a very complex place and it is essential to have a fundamental understanding of how it works. One of the best new books on this subject is Robert Bryce’s “Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper” ($27.99, Public Affairs). What Bryce doesn’t know about energy is probably not worth knowing and, happily, he has authored several books on the subject. His latest provides wonderful and useful insights to the world we share today with seven billion other human beings.

Bryce quotes Edward Abbey, “one of the patron saints of American environmentalism” who, in 1971, said, “We humans swarm over the planet like a plague of locusts, multiplying and devouring. There is no justice, sense or decency in this mindless global breeding spree, this obscene anthropoid fecundity, this industrialized mass production of babies and bodies, ever more bodies and babies.”

This is the kind of thinking that is the hidden justification for genocides. Not surprisingly the leaders of the Nazi regime were all dedicated environmentalists. At the heart of much that passes for environmentalism is an attack on the energy sources that enhance or lives and agricultural practices that feed us.

It’s not by accident that environmental groups all trumpet the same doomsday lies at the same time. Their leaders get together to coordinate their efforts and the current one is aimed at what they call “de-growth”, the reduction of economic growth by any means.

With President Obama blathering about “climate change” threats, it should not surprise anyone to conclude that the horrible economic conditions he has imposed on our nation was not an accident, nor that he focuses on thwarting the provision of energy, the most vital component of economic growth.

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Unsettled science: The dramatic childhood obesity decline that wasn’t

by Doug Powers on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

This is article 29 of 30 in the topic Science

Three weeks ago, headlines like this one from the New York Times were all over the place:

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The MSM was giddy to report about a big victory for kids’ health last month thanks in part to Michelle Obama’s magic formula: Make school lunches crappy while Elmo chants “yes we can” and just watch the pounds peel away:

The CDC has an excellent present for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign during the program’s fourth anniversary: a new report that says childhood obesity is declining for younger kids — by a lot.

The New York Times calls the decline “stunning,” and here’s why: for children ages 2 to 5, the rate of obesity has dropped from 14 percent in 2004 to about 8 percent in 2012. That’s a drop of 43 percent in childhood obesity.

It turns out that the claim of a dramatic drop in childhood obesity is kind of like Al Gore’s favorite hockey stick graph in reverse.

Via Reuters, the anti-obesity science is not settled:

If the news last month that the prevalence of obesity among American preschoolers had plunged 43 percent in a decade sounded too good to be true, that’s because it probably was, researchers say.

When the study was published in late February in the Journal of the American Medical Association, no one had a ready explanation for that astounding finding by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Indeed, it seemed to catch the experts by surprise.

Anti-obesity campaigners credited everything from changes to the federal nutrition program for low-income women and children to the elimination of trans-fats from fast food, more physical activity in child-care programs and declining consumption of sugary drinks.

First Lady Michelle Obama and others seized on the finding as a sign that efforts to combat the national obesity epidemic were paying off.
[...]
In fact, based on the researchers’ own data, the obesity rate may have even risen rather than declined.

Before reporting the original study, the MSM followed their usual fact check methodology: If you want it to be true, it is.

The Media Research Center writes of how the MSM was of course quick to jump on the “victory for Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’” bandwagon. I’m sure they’ll report about the bogus study with just as much excitement (crickets).

The good news is that since Obama has been in office, there’s been a 65 percent decline in MSM obesity, which lends great credence to the health benefits of water-carrying.

Update:

Heh: “No child’s fat left behind.”

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Michelle Obama’s food label changes will cost industry $2 billion, and guess who will pay for it

by Doug Powers on Friday, February 28th, 2014

This is article 64 of 70 in the topic Food/Natural Remedies

If Michelle Obama really cared about Americans having all the information necessary to make “informed choices” she would have had a stern chat with her husband long ago.

From CNS News:

In pitching new, improved nutrition labels at the White House on Thursday, first lady Michelle Obama tried to identify with women who do the grocery shopping for their families. Her message was aimed at mothers who want to buy healthy food and depend on labels to help them do that:

“So there you stood, alone in some aisle in a store, the clock ticking away at the precious little time remaining to complete your weekly grocery shopping, and all you could do was scratch your head, confused and bewildered, and wonder, is there too much sugar in this product? Is 50 percent of the daily allowance of riboflavin a good thing or a bad thing? And how on Earth could this teeny little package contain five whole servings?

“This stream of questions and worries running through your head when all you really wanted to know was, should I be eating this or not? Is this good for my kids or not? And if it is healthy, how much of it should I be eating?”

And of course, we can’t be “helped” without the assistance taking yet another bite out of our budgets:

The FDA estimates the Nutrition Facts overhaul alone will cost the industry about $2 billion.

The expense will of course be passed along to “confused and bewildered” (and soon to be broke) shoppers.

The current label is on the left, and the proposed new label is on the right. (via Politico)

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Is that $2 billion worth of simplification?

The labels should be even easier than that — so simple that even “knuckleheads” can understand. Because of that, eventually I predict we’ll end up with just two nutrition labels…

1. FLOTUS approved:

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Or…

2. Michelle Obama judges your choice:

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Elitist Left Shocked to Learn Poor People Like Junk Food

by Selwyn Duke on Thursday, February 20th, 2014

This is article 63 of 70 in the topic Food/Natural Remedies

Glass of ColaIt seems that you can take the junk food out of the neighborhood, but you can’t take the neighborhood out of the junk-food mentality — or something like that, anyway.

You might have heard about the debacle of Michelle Obama-inspired school lunches, with children throwing away massive amounts of unpalatable fare and high-schoolers left hungry. Now another one of the First Lady’s dietary puppeteering schemes may be biting the dust. Writes NPR:

In inner cities and poor rural areas across the country, public health advocates have been working hard to turn around food deserts — neighborhoods where fresh produce is scarce, and greasy fast food abounds. In many cases, they’re converting dingy, cramped corner markets into lighter, brighter venues that offer fresh fruits and vegetables. In some cases, they’re building brand new stores.

“The presumption is, if you build a store, people are going to come,” says Stephen Matthews, professor in the departments of sociology, anthropology and demography at Penn State University. To check that notion, he and colleagues from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine recently surveyed residents of one low-income community in Philadelphia before and after the opening of a glistening new supermarket brimming with fresh produce.

What they’re finding, Matthews says, is a bit surprising: “We don’t find any difference at all…. We see no effect of the store on fruit and vegetable consumption.”

Surprising? That “if you build a store, people are going to come” is only a presumption among individuals ignorant of market principles. The truth is the opposite: If enough people want to come (sufficient demand), someone will build a store. But liberals would be shocked by the failure of their little scheme because they, as Thomas Lifson put it at American Thinker, “believe in the comprehensive theory of victimology — that all problems afflicting people who fall into ethnic, sexual, or other identities regarded as victims are due to external factors, not to their own choices.”

Without a doubt. It’s just as how the film Boys n the Hood related the notion that the great presence of liquor and gun stores in Los Angeles was part of a conspiracy to destroy the black community. And, of course, it figures that another element in this grand plot would be to deny poor neighborhoods the energy-bestowing foods that would enable one to dodge the bullets. (You know, I used to live in NYC. And I can’t tell you how many times I’d be in a supermarket’s produce section, reach for a head of broccoli and end up with an Uzi in my hand.)

Joking aside, there’s a lot of hypocrisy here. On the one hand, the Left would have us believe that corporations are irredeemably greedy; on the other, that they’re so bigoted they’ll sacrifice money to persecute minorities. Look, business doesn’t care if you’re black or white or in-between if your money is green. And this is why, as economist Walter Williams has pointed out, it is non-profit entities — such as government — that have historically engaged in the most egregious discrimination. Being cash-oriented correlates with being colorblind.

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The Food Fear-Mongers

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, November 14th, 2013

This is article 62 of 70 in the topic Food/Natural Remedies

I recently read somewhere that there are so many laws and regulations on the books of federal and state governments that we are all breaking a law at some point every hour of the day. I have little doubt of that.

Alexis de Tocqueville, the author of “Democracy in America”, was a Frenchman living under a monarchy that, not long after the American Revolution would be overthrown. In contrasting America’s emerging society with his own, he wrote “[Tyrannical] power is absolute, minute, regular, provident and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing.”

“For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?”

I had a college professor who said that no government is more than two weeks from being overthrown if it cannot feed its people. This was the case of the French Revolution and, in more modern times, a major reason for the initial overthrow of the Egyptian government.

The Socialist movement that emerged in the early years of the last century is a perfect example of a tyranny that seeks to control all aspects of people’s lives.

Food is critical to our lives and there is no lack of those in government and outside of it who are intent on determining, controlling, what we can freely choose to eat. Some are just petty do-gooders like New York Mayor Bloomberg intent on imposing his views on the citizens of the Big Apple.

Others spread fear like those who rant about Bisphanal-A, a beneficial chemical that protects people against food poisoning. The World Health Organization, the European Food Safety Authority and Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have all discounted its risk to human health. I have written extensively about BPA and you can visit the blog, The BPA File, I maintain in its support. Another example of food fear-mongering has been the smear campaign against finely textured beef that was subjected to some very bad, inaccurate media coverage last year, called it “pink slime.”  It is a filler that has been commonly used for decades in ground beef and other food products. I wrote about it in March 2012. To avoid more attacks, Cargill Inc. has announced it will begin labeling ground beef that contains it.

There have been and are some foods that pose a threat to health and that is why, in 1906, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration came into being, signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt. Originally called the Food, Drug, and Insecticide organization, later shortened to the FDA. By 2008, it had 9,300 employees and I have little doubt they perform a very useful, necessary service.

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OBAMANATION: IS THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION RESPONSIBLE FOR A FUTURE PANDEMIC?

by Stephen Levine on Sunday, October 13th, 2013

This is article 61 of 70 in the topic Food/Natural Remedies

Why would any nation outsource a majorly distributed component of its food supply to an enemy nation with a record of poultry-related killer diseases?

I find this story deeply disturbing on a number of levels, one, we are outsourcing a widely-distributed food product to an enemy nation; two, we are destroying American jobs in the process, and we are weakening the regulatory agencies of the federal government that were designed to make food safer for consumption. I would rather shift funding from inconsequential cubicle workers to have more food inspectors.

Is That Chicken Nugget Made in China? You’ll Never Know

“ … stunning to learn this month that chickens raised and slaughtered in the U.S. may soon be sent for cooking and processing to China, then sent back to the U.S. to be sold in fast-food restaurants and supermarkets.”

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has given permission for four food processors in China to export cooked poultry products made from chickens raised in the U.S. and Canada.

But don’t think you’ll be able to tell from the label if your chicken nuggets, fast-food chicken sandwich or chicken noodle soup bits have traveled to China and back. You won’t. Federal labeling regulations — called country-of-origin labeling — apply only to identifying food that originated outside the U.S., not where it was processed.

Considering China’s checkered reputation for following food-safety guidelines — the deadly bird-flu outbreaks, and tainted baby formula and pet food, among other issues — lawmakers have blocked the USDA from allowing China to ship chicken to the U.S. for years.

Not surprisingly, critics slammed the new decision, especially because the plants approved to sell to the U.S. will not have USDA inspectors on site.

The safety of imported food, which is overseen not by the USDA but by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has long been a source of concern. The website Wired, which has written extensively about China’s controversial history of food-safety problems, notes that the FDA “has been struggling for years with guaranteeing the safety of imports.”

As Wired pointed out: “Reports by the Government Accountability Office, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Pew Charitable Trusts and Center for Science in the Public Interest all found that the FDA could not keep up with the task; estimating that its inspectors were able to lay hands on no more than 2 percent of imported foods.”

Read more at USDA Lifts Ban on Poultry Products Processed in China

No joke …

usLi Chunfeng
Deputy Director General
General Administration of Quality Supervision,
Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ)
Beijing, People’s Republic of China

Dear Dr. Li:

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA) conducted ai1 on-site verification audit of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)
poultry processing inspection system from March 4-19, 2013.

FSIS submitted the draft audit report on June 28, 2013 and PRC responded on August 29, 2013 with a few minor suggestions.

The draft audit report was update with your suggestions. Enclosed is a copy of the final audit
repo1t for poultry processing inspection system. This report was published on the FSIS website
(http://www.fsis.usda.gov) on August 30, 2013.

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