• Petitioning Congress

This petition will be delivered to:

The Honorable Roy Blunt
The Hon. Tom Vilsack
Rep. Sam Farr
Sen. Mark Pryor
President Barack Obama
Rep. Robert Aderholt


    1. Petition by

      Bettina Siegel, Nancy Huehnergarth and Barbara Kowalcyk

Over the summer, we were alarmed to learn that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allow four Chinese facilities to process poultry raised and slaughtered in the United States, Canada, or Chile, then export the cooked poultry products back into the United States for human consumption.

China has an unusually troubling record when it comes to food safety. Specific instances include: dangerously high levels of mercury found in Chinese baby formula; more than 16,000 diseased pig carcasses dumped in a river to rot; more than $1 million worth of rat and other small mammal meat sold to Chinese consumers as lamb; and more than 300,000 Chinese children sickened, with several dying, from melamine-tainted milk powder.

Last year, according to news reports, a Chinese poultry supplier provided Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in China with chicken fattened by large quantities of illegal drugs. And in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned pet owners not to feed their pets jerky treats from China. Since 2007, approximately 600 dogs and cats in the United States have mysteriously died, and 3,600 have been sickened from eating Chinese pet treats, including those containing chicken or duck. 

Yet despite these concerns, chicken can now be processed in China and sent back to this country for human consumption even though there will be no on-site USDA inspectors in Chinese processing facilities to ensure food safety. Furthermore, Chinese-processed chicken does not have to bear “Country Of Origin Labeling,” which means that consumers will not know if they are purchasing or eating chicken processed in China.

To make matters worse, under USDA rules, Chinese-processed chicken can be used in the National School Lunch Program and other federal child nutrition programs, despite the fact that children are particularly vulnerable to foodborne illnesses and dangerous chemicals.

Even more alarming is that chicken raised and slaughtered in China may eventually be imported directly into the United States, despite the fact that a December 2013 USDA audit found that China’s poultry slaughter system is not yet equivalent to that of the United States in terms of food safety practices.

Given the many reported, critical lapses in China's enforcement of its food safety laws, both Chinese-processed and Chinese-slaughtered poultry could pose a potential threat to public health in the United States, and immediate action by Congress and the President is needed.

By starting this petition, we urge Congress, President Obama, and his administration to stop chicken from, or processed in, China from reaching our supermarkets and the meals we feed our school children by:

(1) Ensuring that Chinese-processed chicken is not included in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program; and

(2) Preventing funds from being used to implement any rule that would allow poultry raised or slaughtered in China to be exported to the United States.

Fourteen members of Congress have already publicly supported these goals in an open letter to the Agricultural Appropriations Committee.

We, Bettina Siegel, Nancy Huehnergarth, and Barbara Kowalcyk, are concerned parents who care a great deal about food and food safety. Please join with us and these lawmakers to show Congress, President Obama, and his administration that American consumers care about food safety for themselves and their families. Thank you!

Recent signatures


    1. A Fourth of July Message to Our Supporters

      Hello Supporters,

      As we celebrate July 4th with family favorites like barbecued chicken, we want to keep the progress going on our mission to keep chicken processed or raised in China away from America's schools and supermarkets. As you know, China's food safety record is abysmal and its food safety systems are decades behind the United States. Any import of chicken from China could threaten the health of Americans.

      The leaders in this fight, Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representative Christopher Smith (R-NJ) have been working hard to make sure Chinese-processed chicken doesn't appear on our children's plates in schools. They are also fighting to ensure that chickens raised and slaughtered in China are not exported to America, for sale to American consumers.

      If you're a Twitter user, please take just a moment to click on the link below to send a tweet of thanks to Rep. DeLauro, Sen. Brown and Rep. Smith for all of the fine work they've done protecting our health? Your tweet of support will also encourage them to keep pressure on the USDA and to continue working hard to protect American consumers and children from food safety risks potentially posed by chicken raised, slaughtered, or processed in China.


      Our petition goals remain:

      (1) Ensuring that Chinese-processed chicken is not included in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program; and

      (2) Preventing funds from being used to implement any rule that would allow poultry raised or slaughtered in China to be exported to the United States.

      Have a wonderful Independence Day holiday and thank you for your continued support.

      Bettina Elias Siegel
      Nancy Huehnergarth

    2. A Recap of the 6/17/14 Congressional Hearing on Chinese-Processed Chicken


      Yesterday, at a Congressional hearing I attended in Washington, D.C., Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) expressed deep concern about the safety of processed chicken and pet treats imported from China. As many of you know, I have a petition on (with co-petitioners Bettina Elias Siegel and Barbara Kowalcyk) titled "Congress: Keep Chinese Chicken Out...

    3. Actions Taken in Congress re: Chinese-Processed Chicken

      Some Promising Developments re: Chinese-Processed Chicken

      As many of you know, in January of this year I, along with Nancy Huehnergarth and Barbara Kowalcyk, launched a petition seeking to keep Chinese-processed chicken out of school meals and to prevent China from eventually shipping to the United States its own raw, slaughtered poultry.

    4. Chinese Pet Treats Sicken More Animals - And Three Humans

      NBC News and other outlets report that three people who consumed Chinese pet treats have also been sickened, just as have thousands of American pets. More here:

    5. Forbes: "No End In Sight to China's Food Safety Woes"

      Forbes contributor Kenneth Rapoza discusses in this 2/5/14 piece the serious food safety problems in China, including its most recent avian flu crisis and the fact that "[m]ore than three-quarters of the surface water flowing through China’s urban areas is considered unsuitable for drinking or fishing." Read more here:

      No End In Sight To China's Food Safety Woes

      Welcome to China. Don't eat the chicken. Or drink the water. Doctors in Beijing warned this week that the country's bird flu crisis is fast becoming pandemic. In Hong Kong, news reports of chickens being led to slaughter or tossed dead into plastic bags have hit the airwaves once more.

    6. Reached 300,000 signatures
    7. Even The Chinese Are Wary of Chinese Chicken

      A January 31, 2014 Wall Street Journal article reports that Tyson, the largest U.S. meatpacker, will slow its expansion in China due to food safety concerns in that country relating to chicken. According to Tyson's Chief Executive, Chinese consumers' demand for chicken raised and slaughtered in their own country has significantly diminished due to concern over "bird-flu outbreaks over the past year [and] 'widespread' consumer worries about food safety." Read the entire article here (subscription may be required):

      Tyson Foods profit rises, despite Chinese chicken concerns

      Tyson Foods Inc.'s top executive said Friday the meatpacker will slow its expansion in China as food-safety concerns have damped demand for chicken in the country. Tyson no longer expects its Chinese operations will break even by the end of the current fiscal year, Chief Executive Donnie Smith told analysts on a conference call, and the company...

    8. Hong Kong Kills 20,000 Chinese Chickens Infected with H7N9 Flu Virus

      The New York Times reports that Hong Kong is killing 20,000 chickens imported from mainland China and found to be infected with H7N9 avian flu. To date, over 200 people have been infected with H7N9 and over 50 have died from the virus.

      Crackdowns on Live Poultry Sales Mar Holiday Season

      Associated Press As the Chinese are getting ready for their Lunar New Year feasts, several areas in China have banned the sale of live chickens, and the Hong Kong government started culling 20,000 of the birds on Tuesday as fears grew about the spread of avian influenza.

    9. Reached 200,000 signatures
    10. "Chicken From China?" An Editorial in The Hill's Congress Blog

      Our co-petitioner Nancy Huehnergarth writes an editorial for The Hill, an influential Capitol Hill website and newspaper. She points out that:

      "If a local restaurant has serious food safety violations, people have access to that information and can avoid that restaurant. If a food company has serious food safety violations, the media will cover that story and consumers can stop buying their products. But, if chicken processed in China is in our children’s chicken nuggets, we’ll never know. That’s a shameful and needless risk our government is taking, at the expense of America’s health."

      Read more here:

      Chicken from China?

      China's food safety system is decades behind ours - and ours is far from perfect.

    11. Reached 150,000 signatures
    12. Chef Ann Cooper Sounds the Alarm Against Chinese Chicken in School Meals

      Respected school food advocate Chef Ann Cooper, aka "The Renegade Lunch Lady," writes in US News & World Report that we "have good reason" to be concerned about the use of Chinese-processed chicken in school meals -- and she urges people to sign our petition.

      Read Chef Ann's post here:

      Is the Fox Guarding the Hen House? Big Business in School Food

      At the start of 2014, I made my new year's re(s/v)olution: Improve food literacy among kids and their parents to help them make smart meal choices and to advocate for better school food. But a recent news story has me changing my goal.

    13. Reached 750 signatures
    14. Chinese Chicken: Why I'm Starting Another Food Petition

      In this blog post, Bettina Siegel, a successful petitioner in 2012, explains why she's starting this petition, along with fellow moms and food activists Nancy Huehnergarth and Barbara Kowalcyk. She lists the many serious concerns regarding Chinese-processed and Chinese-slaughtered chicken and asks for your help in spreading the word.

      You can read her post here:

    15. Barbara Kowalcyk Appears on Dr. Oz to Discuss Chinese Chicken

      Our co-petitioner Barbara Kowalcyk appeared on the Dr. Oz show on December 10th to discuss USDA's decision to allow China to process chicken for consumption in the United States. Noting that "China has a long history of serving unsafe food," Dr. Oz calls USDA's decision to approve China for poultry processing a "back room move" and says he's "outraged" by it.

      Watch the full segment here:

      Food-Safety Alert: Chicken from China, Pt 1

      Dr. Oz sounds the alarm over a recent U.S. government move to permit chicken processed in China to be sold in your grocery store. Experts join Dr. Oz to discuss what it means for food safety - and how to make sure your poultry is safe.

    16. Businessweek Criticizes Decision to Allow China to Process U.S. Chicken

      In a scathing piece, Bloomberg Businessweek sharply criticized the USDA's August, 2013 decision to allow China to process poultry from the U.S., Canada and Chile and then ship the processed product back to the U.S. for human consumption. Reporter Adam Minter wrote:

      "For more than a decade, China has earned a reputation as one of the world’s worst food-safety offenders. In just the last year, consumers have been confronted with a bird flu outbreak, news of sales of 46-year-old chicken feet and reports of poisonous fake mutton. These are not isolated incidents, but rather the most spectacular instances of a crisis that has become so severe that some consumers now smuggle quantities of infant milk formula from foreign countries into China so as to avoid buying potentially tainted Chinese dairy products."

      Read more here:

      Minter: Don't Trust a Chicken Nugget That's Visited China

      Bloomberg News Would you willingly eat a chicken nuggets processed in a country that has no intention of meeting U.S. food-safety standards? Most Americans likely wouldn't. That may explain why the U.S.

    17. Does China Believe It's Exempt From Our Food Safety Standards?

      In July, 2013, Bloomberg News reported that a Chinese food safety official essentially admitted at a press conference that his country shouldn't be held to the same food safety standards as more developed nations.

      You can read more here:



    Jan 24, 2014


    Michael Pollan


    Jan 13, 2014

    Sign on to Bettina's (Lunch Tray) against Chinese chix in School Food!

    Ann Cooper


    Jan 13, 2014

    Given China's history importing poultry potentially presents public health risk #chinesechicken

    Rosa DeLauro

    Reasons for signing

    • Gary Neill GRANBURY, TX
      • 1 day ago

      I don't want to eat ANYTHING processed in China. I don't even want my dogs to eat it.

    • vickie johnson ROCK HILL, SC
      • 1 day ago

      We need our food processed right here in the USA ,every step of the way,it's safer that way.

    • Maria Dunigan BEND, OR
      • 4 days ago

      Worried about the inspection frequency, as well as the environmental conditions in China

    • Michelle Parker OTISVILLE, MI
      • 4 days ago

      China is communist, and they hate us. That should be enough. No pollution, human right or food safety regulations top off the argument.

    • christine fleming PALM DESERT, CA
      • 4 days ago

      stomach gets upset each time i think of purchasing chicken or fish and wondering where it came from


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