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Food Safety Issues Harm Canadian Exports

Canadian farmers and industry officials are feeling even more pressure from global trade restrictions over food safety concerns sometimes viewed as trade barriers.

Canadian raw-material products, from cattle feed to vegetable oil to hot dogs, have recently been shut out of several countries, a reality that is causing prices to dip.

canola-feature.jpgChina, which accounts for a third of Canada’s canola seed exports, recently announced that it would not accept Canadian canola with blackleg disease–a fungus that can cause yield loss but does not present a food safety risk.

The US has imposed shipping restrictions on certain canola-crushing plants as well, but over salmonella concerns. Two plants owned by Cargill are under shipping restrictions over concerns with salmonella in canola meal, which is fed to cattle. 

According to an international wire service, some question the legitimacy of the restriction, “Some believe the Obama administration is scoring political points based on food-illness fears. Even so, U.S. food safety officials maintain that animal feeds can act as vehicles for transmitting harmful bacteria to humans and animals.”

These export woes are in addition to Canada’s fierce opposition to U.S. country of origin (COOL) labeling, which Canadian cattle and hog exporters think unfairly harms their industry.

Yesterday the US blocked Canada’s request for a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel to review the dispute. Under WTO rules the US cannot block the request again. The dispute meeting will likely convene next month.

© Food Safety News