Aussie beef exports to China on record pace

canberra / reuters /Australian beef sales to China are set to surge more than eightfold this year, to around 50,000 tonnes annually from about 6,000 tonnes a year ago.

“In the last six months there has been a bigger jump in China’s beef imports from Australia because China blocked beef imports from Brazil due to mad cow disease,” said Jean Yves Chow, a senior livestock analyst at Rabobank in Hong Kong.

“China doesn’t buy from the U.S. because of the same issue as Brazil, so you don’t have many options but to buy from Australia. At the same time China’s demand continues to increase.”

However, the good news is offset by the loss of higher-value exports to Japan.

Australian beef exports to Japan, its second-largest market, have fallen sharply since the country allowed beef from cattle up to 30 months old, up from the previous limit of 20 months imposed following the 2003 BSE crisis.

Chinese investigate pig river dump

shanghai / beijing / reuters / The rotting bodies of about 6,000 pigs in a river that supplies tap water to Shanghai has drawn attention to an ugly truth — in China, one way or another, sick animals often end up in the food chain.

Authorities found traces of a common pig virus in some of the animals floating in the Huangpu River last week. Insiders say farmers likely dumped them, common in an industry which has no system of compensation for losses from disease and which insurers won’t touch.

Margins on pork are thin and for hog farmers unwilling to spend money to incinerate or bury dead animals, the Huangpu River may have offered a tempting alternative.

While there was no proof any sick animals had been butchered and sold for meat in this case, media have reported several scandals involving sick or dead livestock being butchered and sold for meat.

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