Made in the USA, Know the Point of Origin of Your Food.

I was thinking about Foster Farms, recently, and their numerous offenses against their customers by continuing to put them at risk due to their poor processing practices and sanitation offenses. There have been numerous salmonella outbreaks from their poultry and yet they did not voluntarily recall their chicken from the marketplace, instead they pumped up their marketing/pr campaign to assure the customer that the product is safe to eat. Foster Farms thinks that the customer should be responsible for cooking the chicken, to the proper degree to eliminate the risk of getting salmonella poisoning.

Part of me wonders if the CEO of Foster Farms sits around the dinner table where they are probably serving an expensive Petaluma Organic pasture-raised chicken, talking about the new USDA regulation that is allowing processed chicken from China to enter the US marketplace. Is he saying with contempt for the consumer” If they think our processing methods are dubious, let them have the Chinese method!” or is he deciding to jump on the “gravy train” by being one of China’s first customers? We, as consumers, would not necessarily know because as with GMO labeling, processed chicken from China that is cooked does not need to be labeled, as long as it is cooked. The next time you buy a frozen comfort food such as chicken pot pie, or pick up a can of chicken noodle soup for your child that is home sick with the flu, think again! Do you really want to serve your child a product that may contain chicken that was processed in a country that known to have high pollution levels of heavy metals and chemicals in their water and soil? Not to mention many outbreaks of Avian Virus?

This is how it is going to work, the chickens are raised and slaughtered here in the USA and Canada, then shipped to China, where they are processed by being cooked to 165.2 Degrees F and then used in products such as canned chicken soup, frozen chicken nuggets, after being shipped back to the US. Some of this product will be sold in products that are produced for the freezer section of your supermarket, or it may be in canned goods. These products may have labels such as “Farm Fresh or Happy Chicken” to dupe you into thinking that it came from a wholesome farm operation. Since there is no requirement to label point of origin for that single ingredient, you won’t know that the chicken is coming from a processing plant in China. Buying organic won’t help you  because the same processing can be done with organic poultry as well and still be considered “organic” by the USDA Organic Certification program.

We are getting into some seriously polluted waters, here , pardon the pun. Take for example the recent sale of Smithfield Foods (originally called Smithfield Ham) to a Chinese company,  you know the one that Paula Deen was the spokesperson for? Well,  Shanghai International {who} now owns it. This purchase of an American company came , after 11,000 dead pigs were found floating in a Chinese river, contaminating the water supply. Is our water supply next?

All of this outsourcing of food products is a sign of unrelenting greed on the part of our corporate food giants. They can outsource and prostitute themselves and sell {our} the American food supply and citizens, all the while trying to dupe their customers into thinking that they are still as American as apple pie, by their powerful PR and marketing talent.

This angers me, that the USDA will sell out our independent poultry farmers, to support the practices of inhumane producers, here in the US and then to add fuel to the fire by allowing  large, irresponsible producers to now do business with China and to continue to market those same products as ”natural” and “good for you.”

The answer to the problem is to reduce your intake of commercial poultry, and only buy product that you know is free of animal cruelty, and is organically raised. It can be costly but what is the alternative, to increase your risk of disease to satisfy your palate? There is a way to prepare a quality safe chicken that will make it affordable at the end of the day.  One is by serving a smaller portion of meat, using the bones to prepare a healthy bone broth, full of nutrients, and to prepare creative menus that embellish the clean protein that we should be grateful to still have available to us. Having a reverence for clean food should be the focus.

If you would like to read more articles like this one and enjoy delicious recipes that are Flavorful , Affordable, Clean and Eco-conscious , please support my effort to publish a cookbook based on the anti-inflammatory diet with an emphasis on clean, nutritious food.

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Thank you very much,
June Pagan