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Future Food Insecurity, the Coming China Chicken Fiasco

Last time you walked through the produce section at your local grocer, ever stop and look at the origin of the produce? Depending on the time of the year and the region of the country, you think there would be a lot of locally-grown foods. Well, it depends.

There seems to be an increasing number of produce items from Canada, Mexico, as well as Central and South America. I’m not talking about exotic fruits such as papayas, rather staples. We’re talking about things that could be grown and harvested right here in the United States.

You may not think much about it but it matters a great deal where your food comes from. Technically, the closer to your home produces and other staple, the fresher it should be. When it comes to meats and poultry, even more so.

That is why when I read in POLITICO recently about Made in China Chicken, it made me wonder, why would we want to eat a chicken, or chicken product, that was cultivated, butchered, and processed more than several thousand miles away? Let’s leave aside, for now, health concerns such as Chinese bird flu.

The real answer to this puzzle is politics and money. If we do not import Chinese chickens, the Chinese will keep blocking certain U.S. food and other exports to China, namely U.S. beef. Doesn’t Kentucky Fried Chicken China buy a lot of Chinese chicken to sell locally? Why do we need to import any of it to the United States?

There must be sufficient U.S. sourced chickens to keep in a chicken in every American pot. And, at we least know where the chicken comes from. In China, no such luck. Keep your Chinese chickens and find something else to negotiate about.

Most folks have not idea that the internationalization of the new global food supply system has been ongoing for decades. However, there will come a time, in the near future, that Americans are going to begin to demand to know where their food is coming from. Local growers are going to win, at least the early rounds. And, my friends, it will be very political.

What can you do? For starters, support your local growers. They are easy to find. You can also write your Members of Congress and ask them to block efforts to import Chinese chicken. Keep Chinese chickens in China or anywhere else but in the United States.

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