RSS Feed

The USDA and Processed Chicken

Chicken Nuggets

Chicken Nuggets

I recently read the salt blog and discovered an article dated September 5, 2013 by Maria Godoy entitled, Was Your Chicken Nugget Made In China? It’ll Soon Be Hard To Know. I was amazed at what I was reading. Our very own USDA just lifted the prohibition on processed chicken made in China; furthermore, the USDA will permit processed meat products to be imported to the U.S. without the country of origin. Paraphrasing, the article goes on to say that chickens raised in the U.S. and Canada will be shipped to China, processed into pieces parts, probably battered and fried, and shipped back to the U.S. Does that chicken get frequent flier miles?

I’m sure China has promised the best food processing facilities it can provide; moreover, I’m also sure the presentation that the Chinese factory owners provided to the USDA was impressive.  China’s track record on food safety is, diplomatically speaking; challenged. Does anybody remember these scandals? Eleanor West of the Food Republic blog in an article entitled, 5 Food Safety Problems in China elucidates many of my concerns in a very articulate manner. In reviewing the Centers for Disease Control website, the United States track record on food safety is nothing to be proud of; moreover, like China, it is pretty shameful too. The objective of this particular post is not to spread fear and worry without a solution, but instead to increase awareness and to provide strategies for keeping you and your family as close to optimal health as possible.

Here are my observations, experiences, and suggestions:

  1. Most of the foodborne illnesses reported on the CDC website are from salmonella, which can be managed with fastidious attention to detail around hand washing, temperature control, and facility cleanliness. If you insist on eating chicken, you had better be a food warrior meaning, going on the offense when sourcing your chicken and on the defense when cleanliness, temperature, and food preparation are concerned. Eating in restaurants and/or eating factory farmed poultry are risky propositions at best.
  2. I have suffered through salmonella poisoning twice in my lifetime and I would not wish it upon anybody, it is absolutely awful. The diarrhea, headache, uncontrollable teeth chattering are some of the most hellish combination of symptoms that I have endured; moreover, suffering through salmonella is enough to compel anybody to make life changes.
  3. My suggestions are listed in order from least effective to most effective:
    1. Source your poultry from higher end grocery stores because they are less likely to buy from large factory farms.
    2. Buy your produce and as much of your weekly food at your local Farmers Market
    3. Buy heritage breed poultry from small family farms wherein you develop a relationship with that family farm and your knowledge and comfort level of how the birds are raised and cared for makes the prospect of eating them less risky.
    4. Adopt fastidious cleanliness and rigorous temperature standards for meat storage and preparation.
    5. Stop eating meat at home and when in restaurants.
    6. Stop eating meat and dairy at home and when in restaurants. A plant based vegan diet is easier to do than you think, healthier for you and your family, and quite delicious.
    7. Buy your produce from a local urban farm that grows fruits and vegetables in your neighborhood; for example, Yummy Tummy Farms.

The second core value of Yummy Tummy Farms is self sustainability and eating closer to where you live can address many food safety related concerns, not to mention environmental concerns. Foodborne illness and processed foods are linked in many ways; moreover, just by understanding that the more times food is handled the greater the risk for foodborne contamination means you understand more than the average consumer. I hope that I have achieved my goals of increasing your awareness and providing useful applicable tips to achieving optimal health. I will conclude with a question in an attempt to encourage some dialogue.

As you have become more aware of food, have you made any changes to your diet or the way you acquire your food? Please comment.


7 responses »

  1. I have 46 broiler chickens out in the field right now, Thank God! This is a terrifying revelation. What the hell are they thinking?! When i do eat out I choose from the vegetarian selections (but not the lettuce!) .. awful, what will they think of next.. are these people quite quite mad..

  2. Pingback: Flying feathers might get me arrested | thekitchensgarden

  3. How can it be cheaper to ship our meats across the world and back? People need to buy locally and stay away from those big chain restaurants that would buy meet from China. I love my McD’s and all but cmon. Even the toys from there say ‘made in china’, shouldn’t the food too?

    • Thanks for the comment and what follows is not personal, but it is a bit of a rant. It’s all about how large agro-business and corporate food can affors all those 99 cent “value” menus they offer. They will be shipping your fast food chicken to China because they will cover the shipping costs by paying a Chinese worker 25% of the salary an American worker would otherwise receive. The scenario could get even worse in that this chicken processing may not even benefit a Chinese worker because the work may all be done by machines; moreover, this means American workers lose, Chinese workers lose, and food safety loses too. The greatest benefit, as I see it, is to the supporters of fast food that order from the 99 cent menu.

  4. Definitely! The first time I became aware of my food was with soft drinks. So much sugar! And not really sugar, but high fructus corn syrup. As I’ve started becoming more aware of how my food is grown, I’ve become more selective of the food I purchase at the grocery store. Currently, I would say I’m at your first recommendation. I’d like to try the farmer’s market next and maybe even a local urban farm. I have to admit, though, that there have a been a few times I’m in the supermarket searching for the healthiest food, and I get so frustrated from not knowing enough about where the food comes from and how it’s grown.

    • Hi James: High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is truley an enemy of health because HFCS is in so many processed foods. Big Food has put HFCS in processed food to make it more palitable, lower cost of production, and it stimulates the body’s addiction centers making the average person want more processed food. I think you are on the right track, keep asking questions, do your own research, read informative well researched blogs with references, and take care of your body, it’s the only body you will ever get.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Cornucopia Food Forest Gardens

growing an ecosystem of abundance

Got Meat.

Hello, is it meat you're looking for?

Bread, Cakes And Ale

A celebration of bread, cakes, beer, and grain-based foods.

Vegetarian In Vegas

A new life one bite at a time.

Just another Day on the Farm

Living a step back in time


Food, Photography & Joie de Vivre

Project Light to Life

A bucket list blog: exploring happiness, growth, and the world.

The Happy Food Dance

food - photography - travel

On the Care and Feeding of Geeks

...for man does not live by bread alone...

%d bloggers like this: