US denies selling poor quality poultry products in Trinidad &Tobago
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The United States Wednesday sought to assure consumers in Trinidad and Tobago that they could eat poultry products from the North American country with “full confidence” after a senior official of the Trinidad and Tobago Poultry Association (TTPA) warned that substandard meat could enter the island as a result of a campaign by American poultry farmers to flood the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) market.
TTPA president Robert Phillip earlier this week said that the local industry could be decimated if it is not protected from a ramped up campaign by the USA Poultry and Egg Council to send millions of tons of chicken, turkey and duck, and billions of eggs into the CARICOM market.
Phillip appealed to the government to implement the Poultry and Poultry Products CARICOM Standard, passed in 2012, to prevent substandard meat from entering the local market.
He also called for the introduction of proper importation standards claiming there are too many discrepancies in records of exports from the United States and the Trinidad and Tobago Customs.
Phillip said 200 metric tonnes of chicken offal comes into the island based on US export data but Customs records show no evidence of it.
“Chicken offal is a waste product. This could be a health risk to our people. We cannot say what it is whether it is gizzard, livers or feathers and entrails. We are not sure what it is and it is being imported. US records show it is exported to Trinidad and Tobago but Customs says nothing like that has entered the market, yet US data shows that it left for Trinidad and Tobago,” he told the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.
But in a statement, the US Embassy in Trinidad said that local consumers can eat US poultry with full confidence.
“The United States takes food safety very seriously. All U.S. exports of poultry must, by law, be inspected and only poultry produced in federally-inspected plants and receiving the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mark of inspection can be exported.”
The Embassy said that products exported to Trinidad and Tobago “are held to the same food safety standards as are products produced for the U.S. domestic market.
“The inspection and export requirements of the United States are based on science and result in poultry that is safe for consumption and exported to nearly 160 countries around the world. Consumers in Trinidad and Tobago receive safe and wholesome food, and the growing popularity of U.S. poultry globally is a testament to that fact,” the Embassy said.