China has suspended meat imports from Canada and other countries
By Diego Flammini
Canada is among the countries that’s had its meat export market access to China cut off in recent weeks.
China has temporarily suspended beef imports from Cargill’s processing facility in High River, Alta. as of June 28, Reuters reported.
The list of other countries China has stopped meat imports from includes Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Italy.
China hasn’t provided a reason for the suspensions, but most of the listed facilities experienced outbreaks of COVID-19.
More than 900 people at the Cargill facility tested positive for the virus and two employees died from complications related to the virus.
The listed packing plant in Italy had four cases and one of the facilities in Germany had 264 positive tests.
Despite the Chinese suspension, it appears to be business as usual at the Cargill packing plant because China accounts for a small volume of the High River facility’s exports.
But company officials are in conversation with the federal government to develop an approach to resolving the issue.
“We care about local producers, trade and are working closely with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to determine next steps,” Daniel Sullivan, a spokesperson for Cargill, told CTV News. “We recognize it is important for farmers and ranchers to have access to markets and are working to process cattle and honour our commitments to producers. I also want to be clear that we also stand strongly by our commitment to producing high-quality, safe beef out of our High River facility."
The move also comes after Chinese importers started to ask global exporters to sign documents stating their cargoes meet safety standards and are free of COVID-19.
To date, there’s no evidence the coronavirus can be spread through food, the World Health Organizaton says.
Farms.com has reached out to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for comment.