When a shipment of pork arrived in China testing positive for the feed additive ractopamine, the Canadian Pork Council saw it as a red flag.
“We have a ractopamine-free certification program that involves basically the producer’s decision not to use it, and then a whole process to ensure that the animals do not come in contact with ractopamine,” says Gary Stordy, director, government and corporate affairs with the Canadian Pork Council, adding this includes testing at the processing plant.
Less than one week later, meat exports to China were suspended as a result of “inauthentic export certificates.”
According to Stordy, “it’s highly unlikely” this pork came from Canada, not only because of the presence of ractopamine, but also because “it’s hard to believe somebody would take a short-term gain for, really, ignoring the long-term opportunity within that market.”
“What I’m really looking forward to in understanding, is the outcome of the RCMP investigation,” says Stordy, adding they are looking to figure out how to prevent this from happening again, encouraging the federal government to establish a robust export certification program specific to China.
Stordy suggests it will likely be weeks, rather than days before this issue is resolved.
“We’re really looking forward to getting back into the Chinese market,” says Stordy. “In the meantime, we will move pork into other markets – it may not be necessarily at the same demand – but we will get through this.”