Canadian Pork Exports to China Temporarily Suspended

Cargo containers are primarily used on ships to haul goods. ( MGN )

China will no longer accept Canadian pork products because of concerns regarding the validity of an export certificate, the Canadian Pork Council said on Tuesday.

Because of this, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has ceased issuing export certificates to China for all pork and beef products as of June 25. This halt in Canadian exports is not the result of a food safety concern but the misuse of Canada’s reputation as a supplier of safe quality products, the Canadian Pork Council said in a statement issued Tuesday.  

The Canadian Pork Council, Canadian Meat Council and Canada Pork International, are working closely with government officials to better understand the situation and identify next steps. 

“We are aware that Canadian government officials have been in contact with their Chinese counterparts and are hopeful this will lead to a quick resolution,” the Canadian Pork Council said.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this move comes as tensions escalate between Beijing and Ottawa following Canada’s decision to arrest a senior Huawei Technologies Co. executive in December. China had already banned the import of Canadian canola seed, restricted imports of pork products from certain plants, and arrested two Canadian men on national security grounds.

A statement posted on the website of the Chinese embassy said the probe’s findings identified “obvious safety loopholes” in Canadian inspections of export-bound meat. 

Chinese customs agents launched an investigation after finding traces of a feed additive, ractopamine, in a shipment of Canadian frozen pork. Ractopamine is banned in China. China banned further pork shipments from the Quebec-based processor, the Wall Street Journal said.

According to the Chinese Embassy, the probe later discovered that the veterinary certificate attached to the frozen pork was counterfeit, and Canadian investigators uncovered additional forged certificates.

China is Canada’s third-largest export market. In 2018, Canada’s pork exports were valued at almost $4 billion, of which $514 million was exported to China. In 2019, sales have increased by 50% over 2018 levels, resulting in an increased demand and higher prices for live hogs.

“Demand for pork products remains strong in China and Canada producers look forward to having the opportunity to continue to meet the needs of our Chinese customers,” the Canadian Pork Council said. 

More from Farm Journal's PORK:

Canadian Pork Producers Welcome Federal Funding for Meat Sector

Biosecurity: Best Line of Defense Against African Swine Fever

Trade To Mexico and Canada Opens: Breakthrough For U.S. Meat Industry