Canadian beef again moving to China

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Federal inspectors are again issuing certificates for exports of Canadian beef to China, as Beijing’s temporary ban on the Canadian product comes to an end.

The Chinese government in late February announced a temporary ban on imports of Canadian beef, shortly after Canada confirmed its first case of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in a domestic cow since 2011.

The CFIA said last month on its website it had resumed issuing export certificates for China effective April 9, and federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, quoted Friday in an interview with iPolitics’ Kelsey Johnson, said beef shipments to China had resumed.

China had previously shut its ports to Canadian beef following Canada’s first BSE case in 2003, but had agreed in 2010 to again allow the Canadian product, making Canada the first BSE-affected country ever to export beef to China.

China in 2014 bought about $40 million worth of Canadian beef, or about two per cent of the total value of Canada’s beef exports, according to federal agriculture officials.

The BSE case confirmed in February, Canada’s 19th overall, raised eyebrows among officials in importing nations, many of which re-imposed temporary bans pending further information on the new case.

Case 19 was born in 2009, after Canada’s enhanced feed ban took effect in 2007 — and was also born on the same northern Alberta farm as Case 17, an animal born in 2004 and confirmed with BSE in 2010.

However, the case did not affect Canada’s status as “controlled risk” for BSE, as per World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) standards for beef safety.

South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Peru and Belarus also imposed or re-imposed bans on Canadian beef and/or beef products after Case 19 was confirmed. — Network

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