“This will create a financial loss for our sector,” CMC says
By Jonathan Martin
China is blocking all shipments of Canadian meat, citing ractopamine residue allegedly found in a batch of Canadian pork.
China banned the use of ractopamine, a feed additive that has some applications in Canada, and says that 188 veterinary health certificates declaring that the pork was ractopamine-free were forged.
“These forged certificates were sent to the Chinese regulatory authorities through Canadian official certificate notification channels,” the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Canada said in a Wednesday statement. This information “reflects that (within) the Canadian meat export supervision system exists obvious safety loopholes. In order to protect the safety of Chinese consumers, China has taken urgent preventive measures and requested the Canadian government to suspend the issuance of certificates for meat exported to China since June 25.”
The Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed that it had identified “an issue involving inauthentic export certificates that could affect the export of pork and beef products to China,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, said in an email to Farms.com.
“The CFIA has taken measures to address this issue and is continuing to work closely with industry partners and Chinese officials,” the email read. “The CFIA is investigating this issue and has informed appropriate law enforcement agencies. This incident is specific to export certificates to China. Export certificates to other countries are not affected.”
The Canadian Pork Council, Canadian Meat Council (CMC) and Canada Pork International are “working closely” with the Canadian government to “identify potential next steps,” the three organizations said in their respective Tuesday releases.
“Meat processors, along with the entire meat and livestock industry are concerned as this will create a financial loss for our sector,” said Marie-France MacKinnon, CMC’s vice-president of public affairs, in her statement. “Our industry will work to leverage recent trade deals to find alternatives markets for products.”
Tensions between Canada and China remain high.
The move to block Canadian meat comes days before a G20 leaders’ summit in Japan, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to rely on U.S. President Donald Trump, during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, to appeal for the release of two detained Canadians.
RCMP arrested Meng Wanzhou, a top executive of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, Dec. 1 on fraud charges at the request of U.S. authorities. Days after Meng’s arrest, China detained the two Canadians and sentenced a third to death.
China renewed its demand for Meng’s release Wednesday at a daily press conference by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Since Meng’s arrest, China has blocked a range of Canadian ag products from the country, listing a variety of impurities, labelling issues and contaminants as reasons for the temporary trade disruptions. Canola shipments from two Canadian companies remain blocked.
In her email to Farms.com, Bibeau said she supports Canadian ag producers.
“Our government will always stand shoulder to shoulder with our producers and workers, who export the finest products around the world,” she said. “The Canadian food system is one of the best in the world and we are confident in the safety of Canadian products and Canadian exports.”
China seems unconvinced.
“We hope the Canadian side would attach great importance to this incident, complete the investigation as soon as possible and take effective measures to ensure the safety of food exported to China in a more responsible manner,” the Chinese embassy said.