Bothered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s recent decision to end its ban on processed chicken imports from China, Mississippi state Rep. Tom Miles hopes to implement a country-of-origin labeling law. Miles is concerned that allowing Chinese chicken products into the U.S. could hurt the Mississippi broiler industry.

"I am very alarmed that the USDA has decided to let factories in China process our locally produced chicken for human consumption," Miles told the Clairon-Ledger.

Miles said he plans to introduce legislation similar in design to Mississippi's truth-in-labeling bill for catfish. That legislation requires anyone who sells or serves catfish in any form to post where their catfish is processed.

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However, Mark Leggett, president of the Mississippi Poultry Association, said he thinks such legislation could have a retaliatory effect that would be bad for the state's chicken industry. He said Mississippi ranks fifth among U.S. states in chicken exports, and China is Mississippi's fourth-largest customer for chicken.

"Exports are where the growth is," Leggett said.