The Senate’s version of the 2007 farm bill passed last Friday adds chicken to the country-of-origin labeling provision--even though domestic production accounts for virtually all chicken consumed in the United States. "Chicken meat will be treated no differently than other cuts of meat under the law," says Kate Cyrul, Majority Communications Director for the Senate Agriculture Committee.
The National Chicken Council did not oppose the amendment, according to spokesman Richard Lobb. "It's getting to the point that there will be some poultry imported," he said, noting that a recently signed free trade agreement allows Chile to export chicken to the United States. "And there are a number of other countries in the queue that sooner or later will get authorization."
Currently, domestic production accounts for "about 99.9 percent" of chicken consumed in the United States. However, Lobb says consumers might start wondering where the chicken they purchase came from. In terms of what type of chicken meat might be imported, Lobb speculated frozen breast filets for further processing might be a possibility.
The House and Senate’s version of the farm bill now must be reconciled by a conference committee.