Resolution of Chinese Food Safety Concerns in the Hands of Government Regulators

CANADA - The Saskatchewan Pork Development Board suggests resolution of Chinese concerns related to the use of Ractopamine in North America rests with government food safety regulators, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 26 September 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
Sask Pork producers services manager Harvey Wagner spent two weeks in China this month sharing information with Chinese pork industry officials about the Canadian industry's approach to on-farm food safety programs and he was in China when the announcement was made that shipments of Canadian and U.S. pork had been rejected after the discovery of traces of Ractopamine.

Ractopamine is a feed additive the promotes lean meat deposition while reducing fat production and, while it has been approved in both Canada and the U.S., its use is not permitted in China.

Wagner believes the solution to this particular issue rests in the hands of government regulators.

Harvey Wagner-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board

What it's going to take is a lot more work by all countries at the highest levels to make sure that the differences in the regulatory system are not so glaring.

The challenge is that every country sees food safety slightly differently and, even though the science may not indicate that a ban of a particular ingredient is warranted, sometimes political considerations can overrule the science. So I think that's what's happening here. Trade is a multi-faceted thing. You see all kinds of things happening.

When you think about what happened in Russia, when you had a steel ban from Russia into the United States all of a sudden chicken legs didn't move into Russia.

I suspect that something like this is going on right here in this situation as well.

Everybody has to be comfortable with the science, they have to be comfortable with the regulatory systems in both countries and try to adapt to that.

Despite the issue with Ractopamine, Wagner describes the relationship between the Canadian and the Chinese agricultural communities as absolutely first rate.

He observes the Chinese value our expertise and experience and Canada is viewed extremely positively as a country and as an agriculture community.

Further Reading

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