China will halt imports from a Canadian company after food safety issues were detected in one batch of pork, the Xinhua state news agency reported Tuesday, a move likely to fuel speculation China is retaliating for the arrest in Canada of a Chinese tech executive.
After the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in December at the request of the U.S., China arrested two Canadians, suspended the permits of two other Canadian pork importers and halted all new purchases of Canadian canola seeds.
Xinhua said customs authorities in the eastern city of Nanjing found traces of ractopamine, a feed additive banned in many countries, in pork products from Frigo Royal. It said China will suspend imports from Frigo Royal and also stop accepting health certificates issued by the company’s veterinary officer.
According to Xinhua, China’s Customs Administration will also increase the number of inspections for ractopamine in Canadian pork imports.
Ractopamine is known as a “muscle drug” that accelerates pigs’ growth. It is banned in China, Russia and EU countries, but has been approved for use in the U.S. and Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website shows Frigo Royal — also known as Expedi-Go Transit — on a list of federally registered meat businesses and their licensed operators.
China said it would open all containers of Canadian meat and meat products and, in some cases, 100 per cent of the contents would be inspected.
China has already halted pork imports from two other Canadian producers, Olymel LP and Drummond Export, because of labelling problems.