Dr. Oz said there are serious public-health risks associated with processed chicken from China and said we need to act now to stop these products from coming to the United States.
"This has me outraged," Dr. Oz said on the Dec. 10 episode of his show. "I'm calling on the USDA to shut down this proposal. You have America's health in your hands."
As early as next summer, chicken nuggets and other chicken products (such as canned soup, frozen chicken wings and breaded chicken patties) made from chicken processed in China could be sold in grocery stores around the country.
Under the proposal, chickens that are raised and slaughtered in the U.S. and Canada will be sent to China for processing and then returned to the U.S. for mass consumption.
This was a recent decision made by President Barack Obama to address a decade-long trade dispute. Since 2003, China has refused to import U.S. beef, citing concerns over mad-cow disease, so we're effectively trading chickens for beef in this quid-pro-quo political scenario. Obama has been widely criticized from all sides over this move.
Dr. Oz, author of YOU: The Owner's Manual Updated, joins a growing list of health experts and politicians who say this has to be stopped because of China's horrendous record on food safety.
While the USDA insists the chickens will be processed under comparable health standards to those in the U.S., critics say China's lax factory oversight could make American consumers sick. In fact, China does not even have a food-safety board equivalent to the USDA or the FDA.
Since 2007, foods imported from China have raised safety concerns, including incidences of tainted baby formula, rat meat being sold as lamb, and the use of the chemical melamine (which is used to make floor tiles) in eggs and pet foods.
Earlier this year, China's chicken flocks suffered an outbreak of bird flu. And in March 2013, more than 11,000 dead pigs were found floating in a river in Shanghai. It was later revealed that overcrowding on farms was the cause of the rotting pig carcasses.
Democrat Senator Charles Schumer of New York has slammed the proposed policy, calling it a huge (and potentially life-threatening) mistake.
“China has been a massive source of food poisoning here in America for years," said Schumer. "China has a terrible record on health safety, and chickens are one of the things that need the most care and inspections."