Further reaction on China's ban on Canadian pork

CANADA - China's rejection of imports from a Manitoba pork processing plant because its products contain a feed additive, continues. However, industry insiders believe the move is in response to a North American crackdown on Chinese goods.
calendar icon 25 September 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Following on from comments made last week, Jeanette Jones, spokeswoman for Maple Leaf Foods said that pork shipments from the company's facility in Brandon to China have been suspended because the products contain ractopamine, which is used to increase lean meat in hogs.

The Brandon plant is the only Canadian operation affected, although Ms Jones said that Chinese authorities have suspended imports from 10 plants in the US. Three other Canadian facilities and 11 other US plants are also under investigation.

"Industry certainly believes that this is a trade action that's being launched against not only the Canadian industry, but the US," said Ms Jones.

Canada approved the use of ractopamine in some classes of pigs in early 2006. The additive was cleared for use in pig production in the US about seven years ago. However, China banned ractopamine in 2002

Ms Jones said ractopamine detected in domestic or imported pork products is deemed not compliant. She also pointed out that Chinese officials only raised the issue with the Canadian Embassy ealrlier this month (7 September).

"They've only recently begun enforcing their zero tolerance," she added.

Paul Hodgman, executive director of Alberta Pork, a group that represents 800 producers, said the crackdown could be China's way of sending a message to the US and Canada.

"Certainly, China's really been under fire in North America for lead in toys. This could well be part of that trade reaction to us becoming heavy on them," said Mr Hodgman.

Since last spring's tainted pet food scare and more recently, a massive toy recall, both involving Chinese products, authorities in China have prominently announced their own rejections of imports, including US orange pulp, dried apricots, raisins and health supplements.

Ms Jones said that Chinese exports represent a "very small" percentage of Maple Leaf's total export market - less than half a per cent of the company's total sales.

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