Chicken Processed In China Triggers U.s. Food Safety Protests

McDonald’s tries fancy food with celebrity chefs in NYC

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McDonalds is the last place most people would look for celebrity chefs whipping up French demi-glace sauce served with gourmet gnocchi and slow-cooked beef. But in an attempt to change negative public perception of its ingredients, the fast-food giant is hosting a New York City dinner Thursday night featuring dishes decidedly more upscale than its assembly-line burgers and Dollar Menu deals. The company invited a phalanx of media and other opinion-makers to try out a multi-course meal prepared by professional chefs using standard McDonalds food. None of the dishes will reach McDonalds drive-thrus, at least not in the near future. But company spokespeople said the exercise will help engender new ways to think about the existing menu and highlight the chain’s ingredients. At the event, dietitian Jessica Foust, who manages McDonalds nutrition and culinary division, will craft mojitos made with the chains Mango Pineapple Smoothie base. Her beef and gnocchi dish will be made with McDonalds French fries, another smoothie base, carrots and meat normally used for burger patties. As McDonalds struggles to keep sales growing at the fast clip maintained during the recession, the chain is spicing up its menu with Habanero Ranch sauce and rice wine vinegar in its McWraps bolder flavors that werent as acceptable five to seven years ago, Foust said. You can find these ingredients in grocery stores and some of the most fine dining in the country, she said in a recent interview. Were helping people understand that its food thats all it is. James Tahhan, star of cooking shows on Telemundo and Utilisima, will create tortilla espanola with garlic and saffron aioli using the fast-food companys hash browns, eggs and onions. There will also be Kung Pao chicken made using Chicken McNuggets by Dale Talde, a contestant on Bravos Top Chef show. Aaron McCargo Jr., winner of the Next Food Network Star competition and host of the Big Daddys House show on the television network, will present barbecue chicken. The ingredients? McDonalds crispy chicken, hash browns, Chipotle BBQ sauce, cheddar jack cheese and espresso.

government reviewed the purchase of Smithfield Foods Inc. (SFD) , the worlds largest hog and pork producer, by Hong Kong-based Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. China does not have a food-safety system that allows for any level of top-down management like we have in the United States , Patricia Buck, director of outreach and education for the Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention in Raleigh, North Carolina , a non-profit food-safety advocate, said by phone. Awaiting Identification The next step is for China to identify companies that will process imported poultry, Stacy Kish, a spokeswoman for the Agriculture Departments Food Safety and Inspection Service , said by phone. Processed chicken from China must be labeled as a product of the Asian nation, according to the agency. Food-safety advocates say that while poultry processed in China would have to be labeled, chicken thats repackaged into chicken nuggets or wings and served in restaurants wouldnt necessarily carry the designation. Consumer Rights Even though were going to be shipping our poultry to China, theres no guarantee that thats what were going to be getting back, Tony Corbo, a lobbyist with Washington-based Food & Water Watch , said in a phone interview. There are all sorts of consumer right-to-know issues going on here. Kish, with the Agriculture Department, said We do not believe the product would be repackaged in the United States. If it were, it would have to be done so by Agriculture Department inspectors and labeled as a product of the U.S., she said in an e-mail. In 2004 China asked the Agriculture Department to audit its processing plants so that poultry could be exported, according to the agency. The U.S. Congress in 2009 lifted a ban on Chinese-processed poultry, and after a final audit of Chinas plants in March, the U.S.