What Came First The Boneless Chicken Wings or The Rat?
So you think your really eating boneless chicken wings? Chances are that you are, but you should know more about what you eat.
In 2013 the Ministry of Public Security for the People’s Republic of China had a crackdown for food safety violators, it involved rat, fox and, mink meat being sold as lamb.
It was reported that they uncovered 383 cases of meat-related crime and suspected the selling of 20,000 tons of counterfeit meat. Believe it or not any of the above mentioned meats have the potential to end up in your boneless chicken wings.
It was not the first time; it was not even the first time that year. In mid-January of 2013, traces of horse DNA were discovered in the meat supply of a Swedish company that provides meat to the UK.
It resulted in a massive recall (1,675 lbs. of meatballs alone, which were only a small fraction of the overall recall) and a lot of bad press for all involved.
It was reported on August 7th of 2016 that this issue has surfaced again:
“The US Food and Drug Administration is now very concerned that an estimated a million pounds of rat meat,which is passed off as “boneless chicken wings”, was sold in restaurants and stores across America.
As mentioned in the reports of the FDA inspectors have expressed concern after several illegal container originating from China were seized by customs at the port of San Francisco.
It was found to contain meat of rats that was meant to be delivered to a variety of meat processing plants across America and resale as chicken.
One report indicated that if hundreds of thousands of pounds of illegal meat have been confiscated by the authorities and be destroyed
But the FDA still warns that about 1,000,000 pounds of the counterfeit meat of rats may still be circulating in the territory of America.” Curated from nationalhealthplans.org
You Think Living in The U.S. Protects You From Stuff Like This?
It would be great if someone could say that while you’ve eaten boneless chicken wings that you’ve never ate a rat, but……of course you may not be eating rat, most likely you are, however, not always eating what you think you’re eating. In January 2013, a study revealed that the number of records involving food fraud in the USP database was up by an incredible 60%.
What is considered food fraud, according to the USP, is any “deliberate substitution, addition, tampering, or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients, or food packaging, or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife bureau claims that 55 million pounds of what they call “bush-meat” — which is meat that is from exotic African wildlife, which includes baboons, chimpanzees, and rats. These are exported into the U.S. each year, where the majority of it ends up in large cities like New York City, Miami, or Los Angeles.
If that wasn’t bad enough NPR’s “This American Life” featured a story in which a farmer “with some standing in the pork industry” claimed pig rectum was being sold in the U.S. as imitation calamari, although no conclusive evidence was found.
Isn’t The Government Doing Something About It?
The Food and Drug Administration, who is the branch of the government who can do something about it, are limited by how much they can do.
The issue and reality of the situation is that they only have enough resources to inspect about 2.3% of all food imports. Dr. John Spink, Director of the Food Fraud Initiative at Michigan State University, was quoted in Esquire.com (http://www.esquire.com/food-drink/food/a22701/am-i-eating-rat-meat/) as saying.
“If it’s not horse meat, it’s rat meat. And if it’s not rat meat, it’s something we don’t know about yet.They’re going to find ways around the system.”
In other words, every time you eat something that you didn’t personally grow or kill and then cook yourself, you can never be 100% sure.
Should you just stop eating boneless chicken wings entirely?
Honestly it might not be the worst idea a person ever came up with to take some personal responsibility for what they put into your mouth.
An even better idea might be to trust that food companies, at least here in the U.S., are as worried about fraud as you are. Food companies want the most effective regulations possible.
They don’t want to get “burned” by fake meat any more than you do. The other option is to either raise your own chicken, the option I have embraced.
But since not everyone has room to raise their own chickens they can buy it from a locally sourced supplier.
Are There Health Risks?
Depends on where the meat you are planning to eat came from. Illegally imported bush-meat confiscated at a major airport (among several others) over the course of five years was found to be jam packed with diseases, such as simian retroviruses and herpes viruses.
However, if the meat was packaged in a facility with strict testing procedures, you’re less likely to get meat that’s been contaminated.
So if horse or rat meat that was subjected to strict testing protocol did slip through, it would at least be quality horse or rat meat, though that doesn’t really make it better, does it?
Dogs or rats that are farmed for food, which they do in parts of China, have an agricultural production process that’s as safe as anything in the U.S.
While in many places around the world this isn’t taboo at all, rats are a source of food. In the United States and other western countries we eat rabbits, which is in fact a rodent.
I think the issue is the cleanliness of the animal and how clean the processing facilities are to ensure no diseases are inadvertently passed along. At that is the issue, really – cleanliness.
We all want to know our food is safe and it is safe for our families to eat.
And it is just not meat that we have to worry about. How many recalls have there been for dog food that was killing dogs or tainted honey – from China.
Gardening and raising your own bees and chickens etc., to eat is a sure way to know where you food came from and if it is safe or not.
For chickens and other livestock you don’t have to be the butcher. We take ours to the local Amish or Mennonite families who do butchering for a living and they do a wonderful job, and I know my chicken is really chicken and it’s safe to eat.
Does the fact that fake or misrepresented meat is coming into the country in such large quantities concern you?