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With so many big businesses in the United States outsourcing to foreign companies for cheap labor, many Americans take pride in buying local products and supporting their fellow citizens. Food in particular has become a commodity that many are beginning to buy local, for both patriotic, economic and health reasons.

The health-conscious reasons that people tend to buy local food stems from the fact that, in countries where labor is cheaper, there tends more relaxed rules and regulations when it comes to health standards. This is something that many Americans are not okay with, resulting in an increased consumption of local foods.

However, the United States Department of Agriculture has recently made a decision that will cause local food to be sent to a foreign country before it gets to your dinner plate.

Chicken Processing in China

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) allowed a bizarre trade agreement between the U.S. and China regarding the processing of chicken.

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The agreement allows chicken bred and raised in America to be sent to China for processing before being sent back to U.S. for consumption by Americans. This is something that has angered health health experts and confused economists at the same time.

Many experts could not find any economic benefit for American consumers resulting from this deal. The combination of the time and cost of transportation limits any financial profit that may be made from this deal.

Health advocates have voiced even more concern in opposition to this deal, citing the many health risks associated with purchasing food products from China. One meat processing plant in Shanghai was caught forging labels on chicken and beef products, as well as sweeping up meat that had fallen on the factory ground and putting it back on the conveyor belt for processing.

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China is also infamous for having frequent outbreaks of the deadly avian influenza (bird flu), and is also known to sell pet food, medicine and cosmetic products that have caused people and animals to become seriously sick and even die after using them.

How To Buy Local Chicken

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The best (and possibly only) way to buy chicken that you know was bred, raised and processed in the United States is by purchasing from small, local farmers that sell directly to customers. This ensures that there is no middle man processing activity that can expose you to harmful substances and overall poor health standards.

To buy locally farmed chicken, try a quick Google search for a farmer’s market near you. Or, depending on the state you live in, you can use “Farm Finders” such as this one to find farms near you.

For more reasons why you should be buying local, click here.

Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2015/07/19/processing-american-chicken-in-china-smart-business-or-ruthless-profiteering/#6666dfb2637b

NY Times

Image Sources:

http://thepoultryguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/poultry-processing-in-china.jpg

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02700/chicken_2700843b.jpg

http://circleofdocs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/567372-usda-allows-chicken-processing-in-china.jpeg

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