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Canola Import Restrictions Lifted by FDA

In mid-November, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reported having stopped at the American border in October the equivalent of a trainload of canola from Cargill Specialty Canola Oils’ big crushing plant in Clavet, Saskatchewan.

Halting the product from North America’s largest canola plant was at the time said to be due to Salmonella being found in previous shipments.  Now FDA is giving giant Cargill the green flag, allowing its canola oil back across the Canada-U.S. border, and nobody is saying just what was done to get the import restrictions lifted.

While the giant Clavet crushing plant is no longer listed on import alert status for Salmonella, Bunge Ltd canola plants in Nipawin, Saskatchewan; Hamilton, Ontario, and Altona, Manitoba, and Viterra’s plant in Ste. Agathe, Manitoba remain on import alert status.

The canola meal that Cargill produces in Canada is used in the United States by feedlots preparing cattle for slaughter through aggressive weight gain.  Ground beef is currently being recalled throughout Arizona and in Gallup, New Mexico by Safeway Stores because of Salmonella contamination.   There were two other Salmonella-related recalls of ground beef earlier in the year.

Salmonella strains resistant to antibiotics have also made it difficult for doctors to treat victims of the illness.

Cargill spokesmen have said the company is able to again trade canola with no restrictions, but have not said what actions were taken to ensure the safety of product coming out of the Clavet plant.

Discovery of Salmonella in Cargill canola came after the Minneapolis-based company doubled the size of its Clavet crushing plant to 1.5 million tons per year.  In mid-November, FDA stopped 23 shipments of canola, a product that is usually shipped by the railcar load.

Canola is used as a protein source in animal feed.

The agricultural and industrial giant, Cargill, employs 159,000 people in 68 countries.

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