American officials recently stopped a Canadian shipment of canola meal destined for the U.S. because of apparent Salmonella contamination, but the producer says subsequent shipments have tested negative. Bunge-canola-meal“Bunge Canada is shipping as usual to customers in the United States,” communications director Deb Seidel said Jan. 8. “In December 2015, FDA notified Bunge that one sample of canola meal destined to the U.S. tested positive for salmonella. The product did not enter the U.S. and has been handled in an appropriate manner. “FDA has sampled subsequent shipments of Bunge meal which have tested negative. Bunge has no restrictions on shipping to the U.S.” The canola meal was from a Bunge plant in Hamilton, Ontario, according to the import refusal notice from the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA officials stopped the shipment Dec. 1, 2015, according to agency records. Bunge is part of Canada’s massive canola industry. The country is the world’s top exporter of the grain, which is most often used to make cooking oil. Canola meal is primarily used for animal feed in the U.S., especially by the California dairy industry. As with foodborne pathogens in other pet and livestock food, Salmonella contamination of canola meal could pose a threat to people handling or otherwise exposed to it. The Canadian canola industry has argued that meal used for livestock feed should not be held to human food standards. The U.S. is Canada’s largest customer for canola meal exports with American entities importing about 3.3 million tons. That was 96 percent of Canada’s canola meal exports in 2015, according to government data published buy the Canola Council of Canada. Although the Dec. 1 refusal is the only one in the FDA’s records for 2015, Canadian canola products had a run of Salmonella issues in 2009 and 2010. In November 2009 Food Safety News reported Bunge Ltd. and two other Canadian canola oil and meal producers — Cargill Ltd. and Viterra Inc. were operating under FDA restrictions. The restrictions caused the companies to reduce their crushing volumes.