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Agriculture

China asks for suspension of Canadian meat, citing forged certificates

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OTTAWA — The Chinese Embassy said Tuesday it has asked Canada to suspend all meat exports, a surprise move that comes amid the diplomatic dispute over the December arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.

The latest Chinese move comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to depart Wednesday for a G20 leaders’ summit in Japan, where he is expected to rely on U.S. President Donald Trump to raise the plight of two detained Canadians during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The embassy said in a statement to The Canadian Press on Tuesday that this latest move follows Chinese customs inspectors’ detection of residue from a restricted feed additive, called ractopamine, in a batch of Canadian pork products. The additive has permitted uses in Canada but is banned in China.

“The subsequent investigation revealed that the official veterinary health certificates attached to the batch of pork exported to China were counterfeit and the number of those forgery certificates was up to 188. The Canadian side believes that this incident is criminal offence,” said the embassy statement.

“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.”

China is therefore taking “urgent preventive measures” to protect Chinese customers and has asked the Canadian government to suspend all meat-export certificates, the embassy said.

“We hope the Canadian side would attach great importance to this incident, complete the investigation as soon as possible and take effective measures to ensure the safety of food exported to China in a more responsible manner.”

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a statement that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency “identified an issue involving inauthentic export certificates” and “has informed appropriate law enforcement agencies.”

Bibeau said the agency was investigating a “technical issue” and was working with industry partners and Chinese officials.

A report in the newspaper Journal de Quebec, which first reported the story, quotes a Montreal-based diplomat with the Chinese consulate-general as saying the ban is temporary.

China detained former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor and sentenced another Canadian to death in an apparent attempt to pressure for Meng’s release.

China has also stopped imports of Canadian canola and has suspended import permits for three pork producers.

Bibeau defended the quality of the Canadian meat industry.

“Our government will always stand shoulder to shoulder with our producers and workers, who export the finest products around the world,” she said.

“The Canadian food system is one of the best in the world and we are confident in the safety of Canadian products and Canadian exports.”

The Conservatives blamed Trudeau.

“Conservatives know that Canadian farmers produce some of the highest-quality meat in the world. Any assertion by the Chinese government to the contrary is both false and baseless,” said a statement from Tory agriculture critic Luc Berthold. “It is clear that this is not an issue of food safety, but a political issue caused by Justin Trudeau’s incompetence and weakness on the world stage.”

Berthold said Trudeau has to “personally raise this issue” with Xi in at the G20 meeting and demand the trade barriers be lifted.

Livestock producers are worried.

Chad MacPherson, general manager of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, said China’s action will affect producers across the country.

“This is very disappointing news to hear, that the government of China would be taking these measures,” he said in Regina.

“We feel that we produce some of the safest food in the world. We have very rigorous health inspections and protocols and all the scientific measures that we can to ensure that we produce safe food.”

MacPherson said China’s concerns are unfounded. 

“This is just more punitive actions from the government of China in reaction to the arrest of the Huawei executive,” he said. 

“We can work with our federal government to try to get the consulate back on the ground in China and try to get this issue resolved. It is going to impact the bottom line of all livestock producers in Canada.”

— With file from CKRM

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

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Agri-Culture

Kraay Family Farm Celebrates 20 Years of Farmtastic Fun

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July 17, 2019 | Lacombe, AB –

from Kraay Family Farm

Kraay Family Farm is proud to celebrate 20 years of growing memories – your memories and ours!

The Kraay Family Farm is excited to announce that in honour of a milestone two decades of operation, the 2019 corn maze design honours and celebrates 20 years of family-friendly farm fun. The maze covers 15 acres of land and incorporates the Kraay Family Farm 20-year logo.

“We often get questions about why there is a crow in our logo. Our family is Dutch in origin and the name ‘Kraay’ actually means ‘Crow’ in Dutch. That, and there are a lot of crows around here!” explains Rachel Kraay. Rachel and Reuben Kraay own the farm together with Reuben’s parents, Ed and Linda Kraay.

“We are so grateful for the many guests who have encouraged, supported and had fun with us over these last 20 years! To own and operate a business where we get to watch our kids and our community’s kids grow up and to be part of families enjoying time together is amazing and truly a blessing for us,” says Rachel Kraay, one of the owners of the Kraay Family Farm.

Ed and Linda started the farm as a means to supplement the income from their small hog farm. Reuben was traveling after high school and visited a similar type of farm with a corn maze and other agritainment attractions and suggested the idea to his parents. “Ed and Linda like to have fun and try new things so, together with friends of theirs, they started the farm on a whim one year with just a corn maze, a slide, and a few picnic tables and fire pits,” continues Kraay, “The farm has just grown from there! Reuben and I joined his parents in 2005 after our first child was born and we’ve been adding to the farm ever since!”

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Agriculture

Scrapie, a disease related to mad cow, found in two flocks of sheep in Alberta

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Scrapie disease in Central Alberta

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says some sheep in Alberta have been infected with scrapie, a fatal disease that affects the animals’ nervous system.

The federal agency’s website says classic scrapie, which can be transmitted to other sheep and goats, was confirmed last month in two Alberta flocks.

Scrapie belongs to the family of diseases that includes mad cow disease in cattle, chronic wasting disease in deer and elk, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

Health Canada says there is no known link between scrapie and human health.

The CFIA says scrapie can only been seen in adult sheep between two and five years of age and can take years to develop.

Once an animal appears ill it typically dies within a few months.

The Canadian Press

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