The Sprout: China, Philippines suspend Canadian beef imports

Good day and welcome to the Sprout, where it’s National Bittersweet Chocolate Day and National Oysters Rockerfeller Day. We’ll stick with the chocolate, thanks!

Here’s today’s agriculture news.

The Lead 

We start with a trade update. Real Agriculture reported on Friday that China and the Philippines have temporarily suspended imports of Canadian beef following the discovery of an atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in an Alberta cow last month.

In a statement shared with Real Agriculture, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said the Chinese customs administration has stopped issuing certificates for beef and beef products from Canada as it seeks more information about the BSE case from its Canadian counterparts.

“The General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) is seeking further details about the atypical BSE case,” the CFIA said, adding the agency would “provide a timely response to GACC to support the resumption of trade as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, the Philippines issued a temporary suspension of Canadian beef products on Jan. 5. South Korea was the first country to suspend imports following the discovery of the atypical BSE case, which was reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) by Canadian officials on Dec. 17, 2021.

Around Town 

CFIA says it has taken steps to help Canadian businesses navigate updates to the European Union’s digital system of export certificates, which take effect Jan. 15. Under the changes, the EU will require industry to use updated export certificates to maintain market access due to the Animal Health Law that came into force in Spring 2021. You can find the full press release from the CFIA here.

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced on Friday an investment of $495,000 for the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement to “enable stakeholders to work together to increase innovation and resiliency in Canada’s sheep and goat industries.” You can find the full press release here.

Bibeau also announced on Friday a new ministerial coordinating committee has been created in response to the ongoing trade dispute between Canada and the United States over potatoes from Prince Edward Island. The new Federal Ministerial Coordinating Committee on PEI Potatoes, Bibeau said, has been tasked with “enhancing coordination and collaboration across the federal government to respond to concerns and find solutions.” You can find that press release here.

In Canada 

A major recall of salad kits has been issued over concerns about possible Listeria contamination. As the Blackburn News reports, the recall includes 13 different salad kits under the Dole and President’s Choice brand names. The salad kits, sold across the country,  have a best before date of Jan. 8 and Jan. 9.

Winnipeg’s Assiniboine College is now offering a tuition-free farm equipment operator course for Indigenous people living off-reserve. As Global News reports, the course is sponsored by the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and is meant to help ease the agriculture sector’s chronic labour shortage.

The Globe and Mail looks at how food banks in Nova Scotia are using donations of wild game gathered by hunters as a source of protein for hungry clients amid soaring meat prices.

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Citizen reports on the “perfect storm” of supply issues, the pandemic, and rising costs that are currently making life more difficult for organizations geared at alleviating food insecurity within the nation’s capital.


Moving to supply-chain related news: The Canadian government is resisting pressure from critics who fear the country’s looming mandatory vaccination requirement for international truckers could further strain already struggling supply chains. Reuters has more.

Meanwhile, Australia has relaxed some of the country’s COVID-19 isolation rules for critical workers in response to a labour shortage currently hitting the domestic food sector. As The Guardian reports, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the changes on Monday, which will see the isolation requirements for asymptomatic close contacts of COVID cases employed in critical supply chains scrapped. Workers who test positive or who are symptomatic will not be allowed to return to work.

The Thai government says it will speed up inspections of pig farms across Thailand as officials work to prevent an outbreak of African swine fever. As Bloomberg reports, the promise of expedited infections comes after reports the country detected its first case of the virus in a pet pig.

The United Kingdom’s post-Brexit farm subsidy plan could increase the country’s reliance on food imports, a powerful parliamentary committee has cautioned. The Guardian has that story.


The Kicker 

Here’s a story that warms our hearts: members of Ottawa’s Jewish Community are hand-delivering free chicken soup to help make life a little easier for those getting sick or who are worn down by the general fatigue and dreariness that has accompanied this global pandemic, one bowl of soup at a time. CBC News has more.

Until tomorrow.

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