WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service recently released the names of four establishments in China that were cleared to export processed poultry products to the United States.

The establishments are:

• Shandong Delicate Food Company Ltd.;
• No. 2 Meat Product Processing Plant of Weifang Legang Food Company Ltd.;
• Qingyun Ruifeng Food Company Ltd.; and
• Qingdao Nine-alliance Group Company Ltd., Changguang Food Plant.

In August 2013, USDA determined that China's poultry processing systems are equivalent to systems in the US and therefore eligible to export processed chicken to the US if the product is fully cooked before export. However, raw poultry used for processed chicken products must originate in the US or Canada, FSIS said.

The plan has met with opposition from industry stakeholders and some members of Congress. US Sen. Charles Schumer pointed to China's track record as a source of poisoning in the US. He argued that USDA's plan to allow imports of poultry slaughtered and processed in China poses a food safety risk to US consumers.

However, FSIS noted the agency audited the four poultry processing establishments located in the Shandong province in March 2013. The establishments are operating under requirements equivalent to those of the United States.

"FSIS had no significant findings during China’s poultry processing auditconducted in March 2013," FSIS said in a Constituent Notice. "On Aug. 30, 2013, FSIS affirmed in the audit report that China’s processed poultry inspection system was equivalent to that of the United States and published the processing audit report..."

FSIS said the agency will re-inspect any product exported by the four establishments when it arrives at a US port before the products will be allowed into domestic commerce.