Washington, D.C.-based organization Food & Water Watch has petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service to suspend the importation of Chinese processed poultry products to the U.S.
The move stems from a recent interim rule published by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service that modifies avian flu regulations and may open the door for Chinese poultry exports. Food & Water Watch has said that the USDA's process for considering China as a potential importer is "flawed" and that "serious mistakes were made."
The FSIS sent an inspection team to China in June 2010 to obtain updates on the country's food safety laws and find out if their inspection systems were equivalent to those of the U.S. The FSIS said they are taking the petition seriously. "Following standard procedure, the FSIS is analyzing the information collected," said an FSIS spokesman. "Petitions are an important part of the government's policymaking process and we are committed to responding to them in an informed and deliberate, yet timely, manner."