Fourteen members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter urging their colleagues in Congress to ensure chicken processed in China will not be included in the U.S. school lunch program or other national nutrition programs. Members of both political parties signed the letter, which was addressed to leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees and subcommittees on agriculture.
The letter specifically addresses a decision made earlier in 2013, where the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) made a move to allow China to process chicken produced in the United States, Canada or Chile and be able to ship the processed products back to the United States. The House members stated their concerns of food safety with poultry processed in China, including outbreaks of H7N9 avian influenza that were fatal to more than 40 people. The Representatives urged that the 2014 agriculture appropriations bill contain language that prevents poultry processed in China to be included in the national school lunch program, the school breakfast program, the child and adult care food program and the summer food service program.
"Children are our most vulnerable population with respect to foodborne illnesses and sensitivity to potentially dangerous chemicals," the letter stated. "Given China's demonstrably poor food safety record, we believe it is unacceptable to take unnecessary risks with the health of American school children."
Representatives signing the letter were Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.; Chellie Pingree, D-Maine; Louise Slaughter, D-NY; Carol Shea-Porter, D-NH; Aclee Hastings, D-Fla; Charles Rangel, D-NY; Mark Pocan, D-Wis.; Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.; Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio; John Dingell, D-Mich.; Janice Schakowsky, D-Ill.; Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.; Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.; and Tony Cardenas, D-Calif.