You may never eat chicken again

China – it’s not just about killing your dog, and selling you dangerous drywall.  Now China will be processing chickens for consumption across the US. And under the new rules, your local grocery store, or your local McDonald’s, won’t have to disclose if their chicken has been processed in a country that has had chronic problems meeting basic quality standards on food in particular.

What, you might ask, could possibly go wrong?

Last year, Chinese chicken sickened or killed 1,000 American dogs

You might recall that China is the country that a few years back killed your dogs, a few different times actually, including last year when Chinese dog treats reported sickened and/or killed American 1,000 dogs.

Oh, and guess what was in the jerky treats that killed our dogs?  Chinese chicken.

Speaking of chicken, did you know that a few years back nearly 3 million Americans ate chickens that were fed poisonous Chinese pet food?

But the fun hardly stops there.  Consumers have been plagued with Chinese poisonous toothpaste, dangerous tires that leave out a special safety featuretainted baby milk, tainted pork, toxic rice, kidney-damaging cookies, cake and candies, bird-flu infected chicken, dying pigs, and toxic fish.

Mmm… toxic fish.

Well, now China will be processing US-produced chicken that will then be shipped back to the US market, and no one will bother letting you know which chicken you’re buying got processed first in beautiful China!

Perhaps my favorite Chinese quality-control disaster was the exploding watermelons (which brings back memories of the old exploding Soviet television sets).  I have to admit, an exploding watermelon could be kind of fun.

And now our chicken is going to be processed in China. What could possibly go wrong?

US chicken processing also in trouble

Oh, but if you’re not creeped out enough, there are now concerns about chicken processed in the US as well. From NPR:

And, chicken lovers, brace yourselves: There’s more. A report suggests chicken inspections here in the U.S. might be poised to take a turn for the worse. The Government Accountability Office said this week it has serious “questions about the validity” of the new procedures for inspecting poultry across the country.

Basically, these changes would replace many USDA inspectors on chicken processing lines with employees from the poultry companies themselves. The USDA has been piloting the new procedures, which will save money and significantly speed up processing lines, in 29 chicken plants. As The Washington Post reports, the plan is to roll out the new procedures eventually to “most of the country’s 239 chicken and 96 turkey plants.”

The problem? According to the GAO, the USDA did a poor job of evaluating the effectiveness of the pilot programs it has in place.

That’s one heck of a coincidence, all of these new chicken rules happening all at the same time, and all of them benefit Big Chicken at the seeming expense of the consumer.

PUNING, CHINA - MARCH 18: dirty chickens are fed at home garden, in Puning, Canton on March 18 2013. An H7N9 bird virus was first reported to have infected humans in 2013 in China. (Lewis Tse Pui Lung /

PUNING, CHINA – MARCH 18: dirty chickens are fed at home garden, in Puning, Canton on March 18 2013. An H7N9 bird virus was first reported to have infected humans in 2013 in China. (Lewis Tse Pui Lung /

So my basic takeaway is to stop eating chicken all together

Back to China for a moment, I routinely check my dog’s food and treats to make sure they’re not made in China.  And there is no way in hell I’m eating chicken processed in a country whose food I won’t even feed my dog.

And remember: They’re not going to identity the country of origin on the chicken, so you’re whole chicken, chicken nuggets, and even chicken soup and chicken bouillon could be processed in China, and no one is ever going to tell you.

One has to wonder if McDonald’s, and Safeway, and Costco, and Jewel, and Dominick’s, and Harris Teeter, and Walmart are going to be selling chicken surreptitiously processed in China.

Ask your local supermarket if they’re going to sell Chinese-processed chickens

Perhaps it’s time you asked them – here are their Twitter handles for starters. You’d be surprised how well Twitter works on issues like this.  Also, make sure the next time you to go the supermarket you ask if they’re going to be getting chicken processed in China, then tell them how you feel about it.

Costco (@CostcoTweets)
Jewel/Osco (@jewelosco)
Dominick’s: (@dominicks)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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55 Responses to “You may never eat chicken again”

  1. David Smith says:

    yes cole3244 , we should vegetarian .. rather then eating these kind of chicken..
    check out this site for medical issue’s-

  2. Drew2u says:

    Hey John, I figured this was the more relevant place to link you, but another chinese food debacle: Selling pork + additives as beef.

    Now at least Muslims and Jews have a ban on eating pork, so how would they make sure their beef is ‘clean’?

    “This week, police in Xi’an province reported that they had found and
    seized more than 22 tons of fake beef at a local factory. Get this: the
    “beef” was actually made from pork (which is considerably cheaper than
    beef) that had been treated with chemicals including paraffin wax and
    industrial salts to make it look like it came from a cow. Shanghiist reports that the factory sold more than 1,500 kilos (3,000 pounds) of the fake beef to local markets”

    At least there’s no ban on rat, fox, or mink meat?

  3. HeartlandLiberal says:

    Interesting. I posted a reply to this explaining with a demonstration from the sourcecode on your web site precisely where the reference URL to is, and how it is obviously tied to how your designers set up to obscure email addresses from bot harvesting.

    I also pointed out that I supported your site willingly by trusting all URLs and adding ads.

    I tried to indicate that I thought your reaction above was a little over the top, that I was just irritated after 6 or 7 loop replays of the audio of the ad.

    I find it a little disappointing and depressing that my response explaining what I had figured out re: your site design and the contact link apparently has been deleted.

    Yet your posts in which you reprimand me for calling you an asshole, which I did not in any shape, form, or fashion, are still here.

    Not the sort of behavior I had come to expect from you.

  4. RepubAnon says:

    I’d say two things:
    1) start raising chickens in your back yard if you want to eat chicken.
    2) get the catering contract for Congress, and let them eat the imported chickens.

  5. rich1103 says:

    What better way to kill a lot of people than through the food supply.

  6. Ninong says:

    Ever look at the ingredients on some of the big name brand products? Take for example, Kraft guacamole. Ever read the ingredients?

    How much avocado do you think is in Kraft guacamole? According to their list of ingredients it contains less than 2% avocado! LOL

  7. mononucleosis says:

    So much for food safety.
    How can our government be so stupid?
    First Chinese dog food, then Chinese drywall, then Chinese car seats.
    Now we’re going to unleash them to process people food?
    This ain’t Kung Pao Chicken we’re talking about here.
    Real people’s lives are going to be put at risk —utter, crass and total incompetence.
    Absolutely shameful.

  8. HeartlandLiberal says:

    1. I trust all URLs on your site in NoScript, in order to support your site.

    2. I turn of blocking and turn on whitelist in Ghostery…. to support your site.

    3. Please go to your home page. Look at the link on the top system bar labeled “Contact /Tips”. Hover your mouse over it. Right click for context menu. You will either get an email address option to copy; but other times you will get as menu letting you select a URL, as follows, referring to I am not sure why the variability, if the hot spot areas are picking up something other than the email when I hover, or if your javascript is functioning only intermittently.

    I can see when the context menu offers the email address what the address is, could have guessed it I suppose, but initially I just clicked on the link, and instead of it reading the email address, and popping Mozilla for me, it referred me to the address.

    I suspect this is somehow related to how your are using javascript to obscure email addresses on the site from spammers / bots.

    And finally, FWIW, I think your reaction to my saying I am going away for now was a tad thin skinned and uncalled for. That is what I was about to do, because the music would not stop playing. Sure, I could have turned off the speaker, but that was not the point, ads that auto play and blare music are not good design. I should have to turn off my speaker every time I get ready to click a link and go to a new site.

    And yes, I realize you apparently have a policy which was violated, and I understand that, and appreciate it. Yours is the second political blog I read each day, FWIW.

  9. samizdat says:

    I’m a vegetarian, and my wife still eats meat, but we really don’t buy chicken for home consumption. So it looks like we won’t be visiting any chain eateries anymore, as neither of us trust these stores to police their own product. We don’t go out to eat much, and rarely go to fast-food joints, but this pretty much puts the kibosh on patronizing any restaurant that we don’t trust.

    On an OT subject, though no less alarming; or, as I would have entitled it, “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish”:

  10. karmanot says:

    That happens on rare occasions with us, but not often. We turn the sound off. Remember this, John works like hell keeping the quality of this site in top shape and juggles a complexity of issues while creating posts, participating in the comments threads and answering e-mails. It’s amazing he has time to pet Sasha. Tone it down a bit.

  11. karmanot says:

    Simple that.

  12. Asterix says:

    I can empathize with your financial difficulties and your efforts are certainly appreciated.

    However, not everyone has broadband, nor is it available in all locations. If ads were discreet, low-bandwidth-consuming items that didn’t link to a bunch of tracking sites and multiple redirections, I probably wouldn’t have an issue. Flash ads never help. But when the ad content exceeds the “real content”, I draw the line.

    I realize that This Is The Way Things Are, but when there’s no thought given by advertisers to those with limited bandwidth or for those users who pay for every single byte of data transfered, ad blockers will be the rule of thumb. Some browsers come with ad blocking software installed by default.

    I would venture that some mobile providers make more from the bandwidth toll that either the advertisers or the sites doing the advertising do from the ads.

    So it seems that we’re at an impasse here with several choices for ads to raise revenue. 1. Get the advertisers to tone their act down, perhaps offering low-bandwidth contents to slower connections. 2. Get the advertisers to improve Internet infrastructure and make real broadband available to everyone at low cost.

    It really does seem to be true, to quote Ted Sturgeon, that “ninety percent of everything is crap.”. When I’m paying the toll to receive it, I reserve the right to get rid of the crap any way I can.

    In the meantime, you’re perfectly free to detect ad blocking software (some sites do it) and hide the content for those who don’t care to see the advertising.

  13. karmanot says:

    Why, it tastes just like chicken parts!

  14. karmanot says:

    Avid anything factory-processed. Bingo!

  15. karmanot says:

    Let me recommend ground Birkenstock loaf with a honey/mustard glaze and a side of raw kale.

  16. mirth says:

    Which is why I also suggested turning one’s speaker volume off.

  17. John also may not like not having enough money to pay his mortgage because he works 14 hour days in a business that is no longer viable – aka online media where advertising died at the end of 2008 and has never recovered more than 50% in the ensuing 4.5 years. John may not like it, indeed. If you like the sites you visit, don’t use ad blocker unless you don’t mind putting us out of business. As I mentioned below, this blog almost closed at Christmas, the only thing that kept us open was that the new design brought it new readers and more page views. But the jury is still out on any of our medium-term viability. No one should use ad blockers on any Web site that you don’t mind being personally responsible for putting out of business. Hate to be so stark about it, but people really don’t seem to realize how bad it is out there for most of us.

  18. And re the other commenter who suggested using an ad blocker, if you’d like all your favorite sites to close up shop in the next year, do use an ad blocker :) I was ready to close the blog completely last Xmas because revenue has been so bad since 2008 when the economy crashed. I rarely complain about ads I see on other sites now as a result, I get how bad things are for anyone who tries to make a living via a Web site and Web ads. Do not use ad blockers if you want your favorite sites to stay around.

  19. “I am going away now. I will come back when there are no autoplay ads.”

    Do you talk to your mom that way, cuz it doesn’t sound terrible friendly to me. “Mom, clean the house. I am going away now. I will come back when the house is clean.” :)

    And I have no idea what you’re talking about with regards to a cloudflare link, unless you’re not even visiting the live site and are perhaps getting a cached copy that should only be coming up when the site is down. You might want to empty your cache and refresh the page by holding down the shift key while hitting the refresh button on your browser.

  20. Potentially anything from a fast food restaurant – is the chicken cooked on site or pre-cooked? Also cans of chicken soup. And anything you buy at a grocery store that might contain chicken other than an actual whole raw chicken. Is sliced chicken meat at the deli processed in China? What about chicken in pot pies? Frozen tacos or quesadillas from the grocery store. Frozen pizza with chicken on it. Fried chicken fro the freezer section? Or really any frozen food that contains chicken. There are a lot of ways that one could eat pre-cooked chicken that isn’t just mcnuggets.

  21. Asterix says:

    Just install some decent ad-blocking software on your browser. Most of the major web browsers have “extension” or “plug-in” menu selections. Many will reclaim the area used for ads and use it to expand your view.

    John may not like ad-blocking software users, but it’s your computer.

  22. Asterix says:

    So that’s essentially Chicken McNuggets and other such chickeny goodness sold at fast food outlets?

    Suits me just fine. I don’t eat at those pestholes anyway.

  23. mirth says:

    Not for the first time, John’s offense is way over the top; however, auto-play ads can crop up without a site owner being aware and the solution to these sneaks is so simple that one wonders about the force of your complaint or that it was made at all:

    Install ad-blocking software and/or Turn off your speaker volume until you want to listen to something.

    Personal responsibility. Take some.

  24. drdick52 says:

    Fortunately I have access to locally grown Hutterite chickens here. A bit more expensive, but guaranteed wholesome and healthy.

  25. Monoceros Forth says:

    I think veganism is practicable…just barely; really if you love cooking and know anything about food chemistry you’ll know there’s simply no substitute whatever for egg protein. (And I’ve tried a few experiments in this regard using vegetable gums and other substances I’d rather not talk about.) The raw food fad is absolute garbage, though, without a shred of justification; the whole craze is sodden with the sort of illogical vitalism that went out of style the moment Woehler made urea out of ammonium cyanate almost two hundred years ago.

  26. BeccaM says:

    ‘Clicking to go to contact you via cloud fare’? No idea what that means, but if you’re using Ghostery and other ad- and script-blocking add-ons in your browser, there’s every chance that’s what’s breaking the redirect.

    To write John, just send an email to contact(at) That’s what that link up there does, tells your computer to create an email message using your default email program. (Replace (at) with the @ sign.)

  27. cole3244 says:

    you love hypocrisy so much you practice it.

  28. cole3244 says:

    i didn’t mention contamination you did and i bet you still eat veggies.

  29. Drew2u says:

    I tried a reagan pie, one of those raw-food vegan things, and it was god-awful. Just because it’s raw and vegan, doesn’t mean it HAS to taste like shit.
    Also I love the hypocrisy of selling coffee – with roasted beans and high-temp water – at a place that extolls the virtue of making recipes with little or no heating of the ingredients.
    (but seriously, both the chocolate/coconut and the strawberry pie that I tasted were inedibly horrible and the crust – wasn’t)

  30. Monoceros Forth says:

    I’m not sure what the answer is. Our population has become so large and so sprawling that “locavorism” can’t possibly be a solution for everybody. It does seem, by the way, an interesting, indirect argument for vegetarianism: it is easier to grow vegetables in more places than it’s possible to raise livestock, so the probability that you’d be able to subsist entirely on foodstuffs grown close to home is greater if you’re just eating veggies.

  31. Naja pallida says:

    Yeah, but E. coli specifically comes from animal waste… so chances are it was cross-contamination either at the fertilizer level (kind of inevitable if you’re using animal droppings for fertilizer), or in the processing factory, if animal products are processed in the same area as vegetable products. If you are serious about wanting to be vegan, avoiding anything factory-processed, and seeking out locally-sourced raw produce, is probably the only way to go.

  32. Naja pallida says:

    Or more likely an excuse for Whole Foods to charge even more. :)

  33. Naja pallida says:

    Even if you did find out the manufacturer of that dehumidifier was in the US, the company that makes the plastic for the housing, the circuit board inside it, the individual components of the electronics… most likely all from overseas. Even if the final product is assembled here.

    If you drive car from an “American” manufacturer, go through it some day. Look at a few individual parts on it and see if you can find where they’re made. You’ll most likely see that about the only thing made in the US anymore are the heavy parts that are expensive to import: the steel frame, engine block, body panels, etc. The majority of the rest of the components that actually make it function as a car, especially the electronics, are made in China and just assembled in the US, Canada, or more likely these days, Mexico. But when Chrysler advertises “Imported from Detroit” they don’t ever bother to mention all the actually imported components.

  34. Naja pallida says:

    We do it with corn, wheat, fish, and fruit already… the savings comes from being able to have it processed for pennies, because Chinese factories are happy to cut any corner they can get away with and pay their workers slave wages.

    … and I wish it was just the GOP, but there is no consumer advocacy party any longer. There are a few individuals who sometimes mumble stuff about it, but nobody in Congress actually treats it seriously, lest their bribery income be reduced.

  35. Monoceros Forth says:

    Vegetables are scarcely free from issues of contamination. A good number of the recent E. coli contamination incidents leading to recalls have been of produce.

  36. Monoceros Forth says:

    Perfect examples. How easy would it be for the consumer to find out who the true manufacturer of his dehumidifier or his tires actually was? Not the easiest task in the world, I’m sure. And even if he did know, what then? How do you punish, with your supposed ability to choose a superior competitor, a company whose products are rebadged and sold under a half-dozen other brand names? Would you even be able to choose another brand name? Suppose the only place in town where you can buy appliances is the nearest Walmart. Your choices between products are limited to whatever brands they choose to stock, which is often no choice at all. Everywhere you look, your control as a consumer over what you buy is weakened and limited, sometimes in subtle ways. Yet this, we are told, ought to be the only force that should act upon the world of business because applying any external force is tyranny and robbing people of choice and all the rest of that rubbish.

  37. cole3244 says:

    go vegan, everybody wins.

  38. Naja pallida says:

    Of course, a good amount of our corn and wheat processing is also done in China. They buy our severely agribusiness-demented grains for bottom dollar prices, process it into raw materials like high fructose corn syrup, wheat flour, or countless other ingredients, and then sell it back to companies that make it into everything from bread to salad dressing. Juices are another major one, avoid anything from concentrate – most of it is processed in China. Individual raw ingredients are generally never clearly sourced on packaging.

    Much of our seafood is also processed in China. Even fish caught off the coast of Alaska, the vast majority of it is sent to China for processing, and then sold back to us.

    It’s a seriously screwed up system, and it’s quite literally killing and impoverishing us.

  39. emjayay says:

    This is just what Upton Sinclair was writing about a century ago in The Jungle. His basic point of course was that It used to be that cows and pigs were raised a few miles away and butchered at a local shop and bought by a neighborhood butcher you knew who knew the farmer, and turned into cuts of meat and sausage by that guy. With the railroads and rise of bigger scale operations this was no longer the case.

  40. ArthurH says:

    Agreed! And it goes beyond food. A little known company to U.S. consumers but a major manufacturer in China called Gree last week was ordered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall more than 2 million dehumidifiers that overheat, catch fire, and burn down homes. Most were produced under private label agreements for sale under other well-known brands like Frigidaire and Kenmore. Gree isn’t revealing what is causing the problem but I suspect they left something out of the product like a limiter circuit to curb overheating to save money, just as the Chinese firm that produced tires for the New Jersey firm and changed the design to eliminate most of the metal bias belting that maintains the tire’s shape and ultimately caused ambulances rushing to hospitals in Albuquerque to flip and crash. Gree even left out a letter in its name… the final ‘d’.

  41. HeartlandLiberal says:

    Buy chicken from local producers if you can. This is harder in major metro areas, I suspect, but in most cities around the 50,000 population level and less, you are usually in areas close to rural producers, and there is a growing buy local food movement, especially in college and university towns.

    By the way, beware of honey, also, and try to buy it from local producers. China and others are shipping massive amounts of toxic and polluted honey to the US for mass production of cheap honey.

  42. HeartlandLiberal says:

    Not sure where anywhere in my post I said anything ad hominem at you. I think you are overreacting. Maybe the last sentence was a little strong, but at that point, after the 7th or 8th replay, it was getting old.

    I was just trying to let you know it was happening. And that moreover, clicking to go to contact you via cloud fare could not work either. If that had worked, I would not even have posted a meta msg in a thread publicly.

  43. A suggestion for life. Rather than just assume that everyone else is an asshole, and everything that goes wrong is intentional and meant to hurt you, next time you don’t like something, try asking nicely rather than threatening. We ban auto-play ads on this site. But some ad company has been sneaking them through for about a month now. And the only way we can dog this is if you tell us where the ad is, and WHAT it is, AND what URL it’s going to. So next time, if you can get me the information I need to ban these jerks, rather than simply resorting to extortion based on the false assumption that I’m an ass, it would be much appreciated :)

  44. Monoceros Forth says:

    I love reading older chemical texts–there’s a lot of practical information still to be found in them, honestly–and one darkly amusing thing you find in some of those books is a variety of methods for detecting adulterants in common products. So many tricks: black pepper or substances intended to imitate black pepper would be colored darker with graphite; essential oil of almond would be goosed up with a bit of nitrobenzene (toxic as hell but it smells the same and it’s cheaper to make than benzaldehyde); even arsenic could be found (such a pretty green, you see, in the form of copper arsenites.) It’s a glimpse into the glory days of unregulated manufacturing.

    No need to read a century-old book to find out about these things, though. Just go to China!

  45. rodnchance says:

    This would be a great opportunity for a supermarket or fast food outlet to improve their market share by advertising that their product was not processed any where but in the USofA and or Canada.

  46. ComradeRutherford says:

    Laws will be changed. American businesses are losing money by not moving EVERYTHING to China.

  47. ComradeRutherford says:

    If it isn’t deadly poison, then why would America import it?

    The whole point of moving everything to China is to kill off the American people while simultaneously impoverishing them all so that corporate profits can increase 300% every quarter, along with CEO pay.

    You can’t argue that Capitalism isn’t the best thing ever.

  48. RobNYNY1957 says:

    The chicken can be re-imported only in cooked form, so if you buy uncooked chicken, it was processed either in the USA or Canada.

  49. emjayay says:

    It’s hard to imagine that having the fox guard the chicken coop can possibly be a good idea, or that chicken disassembly lines need speeding up.

    Obviously it does save money to have chicken frozen, sent across the Pacific ocean on a ship while being kept frozen, processed into maybe high fat breaded deep fried nuggets, refrozen, and shipped back, or no one would want to do it. The cost savings is in paying workers nothing, I suppose not taxing the business, and letting them dump their pollution wherever they want. Even in a lowest possible wage industry, the savings must be substantial vs all the costs.

    There didn’t use to be nutritional labeling or probably a lot of laws about ingredient labeling, but now every country has their requirements. The cheapest German chocolate for example lists the percentages of cocoa etc., no doubt because of legal requirements there. The power of the food industry vs. consumers (i.e. liberals from the Progressive era when all this started on to today) in the US of course continually stymies labeling GMO’s etc.

    By the way, since it is labeled because of what laws we do have, you can tell a lot of fish in your supermarket is now from Asia, mainly southeast Asia. That includes at Trader Joe’s. I would avoid all of it.

  50. Just_AC says:

    we are just screwed no matter what we do

  51. Sally says:

    But they no longer have to tell you. This GOP is now the arm of the Chinese. How in heck can it be cheaper to send raw chickens to CHINA and back again..let alone safe? I am missing something here. And yet the GOP’s desire to ‘shrink’ government means we have fewer inspectors inspecting fewer products, and this is supposed to be good? Wait until 400 people die, and Issa starts holding hearings on how “Obama stopped inspections due to his sequestor.” Any bets?

  52. goulo says:

    I haven’t eaten chicken or any other meat for decades… so it’s no great hardship for me to avoid chicken now. :)

  53. rextrek says:

    havent we learned by see’n the movie CONTAGION???

  54. HeartlandLiberal says:

    This is a meta message.

    I am putting this here because I cannot get your web site to pass email address to cloud fare via your contact list at the top, even though I have trusted every frickin URL on the page, and turned off Ghostery. Cloudfare says your obfuscated emails are not being passed to the contact engine there.

    You have an autoplay video ad in the upper right that starts playing when you hit a page.

    This is THE MOST UNACCEPTABLE form of advertising. I just do not need to be trying to read when all of a sudden an ad starts blaring at me. And worse than that LOOPING, even after I tried to unselect loop on the options for the ad. Apparently going to a new page resets it to play and loop.

    Really. Please go read all the advice on by Vincent Flanders, and have your designers heed them.

    I am going away now. I will come back when there are no autoplay ads.

  55. Cletus says:

    I already eat nothing stamped “made in” or “product of” China. Add processed anything ham or chicken to the list.

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