DeLauro: Ban Chinese chicken from school lunches

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who represents a part of Shelton, is part of a small bipartisan group of House members calling on their colleagues to ensure unsafe chicken from China doesn’t make its way to American supermarket shelves.

The group of 14 U.S. representatives have written a letter asking that the 2014 Agriculture Department (USDA) funding bill ensure Chinese-processed chicken is kept out of the school lunch and other child nutrition programs. It also asks that the bill prevent poultry slaughtered in China from being exported to the United States.

‘China’s weak enforcement of food safety’

“Consider the impact of China’s weak enforcement of food safety laws and regulations...,” they wrote to Republican and Democratic leaders of the House subcommittees responsible for funding the USDA.

“More than 300,000 Chinese children fell seriously ill, with some dying, from melamine-tainted milk powder; dangerously high levels of mercury found in Chinese baby formula; the sale of more than $1 million worth of rat and other small mammal meat passed off to consumers as lamb; and more than 16,000 diseased pig carcasses dumped in a river to rot,” stated the letter.

DeLauro, a Democrat in her 12th term, is a former chairwoman of the subcommittee responsible for funding the USDA. She has long fought to ensure unsafe poultry from China does not enter the United States, according to a press release from her office.

Problem with pet treats cited

The group’s letter continued: “Last year China Central Television revealed that a Chinese poultry supplier provided Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants with chicken fattened by large quantities of illegal drugs.

“In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced that, since 2007, pet treats imported from China containing contaminated chicken have killed 600 dogs and cats in the United States, and sickened 3,600 more. According to the World Health Organization, so far 45 of the 136 people who contracted the H7N9 bird flu in China this year have died.”

Numerous advocacy and consumer safety groups support the U.S. House members’ letter, according to a DeLauro press release. This includes Food and Water Watch, Consumer Federation of America, National Farmers Union, Consumers Union, and the Center for Foodborne Illness.

Shelton has two members of Congress

The city of Shelton is divided between the Third District, represented by DeLauro, and the Fourth District, represented by fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes.

The Third District is centered in New Haven County, while the Fourth District includes most of Fairfield County. DeLauro lives in New Haven and was first elected to Congress in 1990.