Concerns over U.S. chicken processed in China - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Concerns over U.S. chicken processed in China

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Miles plans to introduce a truth-in-labeling bill next session. Miles plans to introduce a truth-in-labeling bill next session.
Mark Leggett, President of the Mississippi Poultry Association, says the state should be careful with stamping those labels. Mark Leggett, President of the Mississippi Poultry Association, says the state should be careful with stamping those labels.
FOREST, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Poultry pulls in millions of dollars to Mississippi each year, but some are worried it could now go into the wrong hands. 

The USDA will now allow chickens slaughtered in the U.S. to be processed in China, but no labeling will be required to identify those chicken products that they ship back to the U.S.

State Rep. Tom Miles is calling foul on the idea of shipping chicken back and forth to China.

"When we have Mississippi workers, Mississippi farmers are handling our chickens. They are handling and processing our food. It's just a sense that we all feel safe with it because we know where the food is coming from," Miles said.

Miles plans to introduce a truth-in-labeling bill next session. It would be similar to current law that requires origin labels for catfish.

"When you walk into the catfish restaurants, you see the sign that says this is Mississippi farm raised catfish. That this is Mississippi processed and grown chickens," explained Miles.

He also looks at the labels as a way of protecting the booming industry that much of the Magnolia State relies on. His phone has already started ringing with questions.

"They're just concerned of the unknown. They're concerned of what happens if our factory workers leave our town and we don't have anyone left in our towns," Miles said.

But Mark Leggett, President of the Mississippi Poultry Association, says the state should be careful with stamping those labels.

"Our concern would be first some type of retaliation by other countries. That they would decide to not buy our chicken," Leggett said.

Leggett says the growth of the poultry industry is going to come from overseas. Mississippi currently sells chicken to 77 different countries. He also stresses that the chicken going to and from China will be a small percentage of the industry.

"It'll be processed chicken and it's not chicken you would see in a tray in the Kroger. You wouldn't see a Mississippi chicken beside a Chinese chicken," Leggett pointed out.

Still, Representative Miles is concerned that this could be the start to a larger move of the poultry industry to China.

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