The Bush administration is pressing China to reverse its decision to suspend imports from seven poultry and four pork plants, as producers defended products they say are safe enough for consumers at home and abroad.
The import bans are the latest action in the escalating trade tension between the US and China. The US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has apparently requested test results and any scientific information available that justify the restrictions.
Differing safety standards
Keith Williams, a spokesman for US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, blamed the ban on differing safety standards between the US and China. All of the plants in question meet US Department of Agriculture (USDA) hygiene regulations. “We’re certainly working to address the differences,” he said, adding that a delegation of Chinese officials will arrive in Washington in the coming weeks to discuss trade issues.
Patrick Boyle, president of the American Meat Institute said that the exported products could be safely eaten by US consumers, yet China has rejected them.
“US food safety standards are among the most stringent in the world and our pork and poultry products are recognised for their safety,” he said. “China’s policies and actions to suspend these plants are inconsistent with the best available science.”
Many players in the US pork and poultry industry are not happy with the bans, and some are complaining in saying that China selectively enforces rules, while others see the bans as an outcry following American consumers and politicians questioning the goods coming from Chinese exports.