Alberta issues a response to China's ban on imported meat

Jun 26 2019, 7:31 pm

China just dealt a blow to Alberta’s livestock industry.

On Tuesday, June 25, the Chinese government announced that it would be immediately suspending the import of all Canadian meat after Chinese Customs authorities allegedly found ractopamine residues in a batch of pork products.

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As a result, “China suspended the import of pork products from the relevant enterprises and required the Canadian side to carry out an investigation,” according to Chinese Embassy spokesperson Lu Shaye, in a statement.

Following a subsequent investigation, Shaye stated that the official veterinary health certificates attached to the pork products were counterfeit, and, as a result, China has asked Canada to suspend all certificates for meat import as of June 25.

These forged certificates were “sent to the Chinese regulatory authorities through Canadian official certificate notification channel, which reflects that the Canadian meat export supervision system exists obvious safety loopholes,” he stated.

As Canada’s largest producer of livestock — home to 41% of the country’s beef cattle (that’s 4.9 million cows) as of the 2016 census — Alberta’s farmers will be hit hard by the impacts of China’s decision.

The Government of Alberta announced in a statement on Wednesday, June 26 that it would be standing by its farmers, and that it would be “fighting hard” alongside the federal government to end the suspension.

“I have spoken with Minister Bibeau, the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food as well as industry stakeholders and reinforced that the Alberta government’s priority will be to protect our farmers during this difficult time,” said Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Alberta’s Agriculture and Forestry, in the release.

“The premier has spoken with Bill Morneau, federal Minister of Finance, and shared our disappointment with this action and the impacts it will have on farmers.”

While the release stated that it would be supporting officials from both companies to resolve the situation, and that Alberta Agriculture and Forestry was at work to “ensure diverse market access and a timely resolution of the issue,” no resolution timeline was provided in the release.

This isn’t the first time that an import ban from China has had an impact on Albertan farmers, as China’s suspension of Canadian canola imports last March also spurred a release from the then-NDP-led Government of Alberta calling on the feds to bring an end to the restriction.

With files from Eric Zimmer