The National Turkey Federation and its membership has said it favors a compromise from Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D.-Conn., and Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., that could permit cooked poultry products from China to be sold in the United States.

The agreement would ensure the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service can proceed in conducting risk assessments of cooked poultry products from China and inspecting Chinese plants to determine their eligibility for export to the United States, according to NTF President Joel Brandenberger. The House and Senate conferees have agreed to include this provision in the Fiscal Year 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.

China is the second-largest foreign purchaser of U.S. turkey products, and it has expressed its strong opposition to a provision authored by DeLauro in last year’s appropriations bill preventing USDA from proceeding with a risk assessment and plant inspection. 

The agreement allows FSIS to begin conducting risk assessments, inspecting Chinese plants and making science-based determinations about the equivalency of Chinese food safety systems. However, several key provisions must be met for product to enter the country. The agreement will require significant reporting to Congress but gives the Secretary of Agriculture the discretion to administer the program in accordance with established procedures for all other countries.