Farmers probed as China finds banned drug in pork

One shipment of Olymel pig trotters contained traces of the banned drug ractopamine

Canadian pork processor Olymel LP is investigating hundreds of its pork suppliers after a shipment of pig feet to China tested positive for residues of the banned growth-enhancing drug ractopamine.

The business was notified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on Friday 26 May that safety inspectors in China found residues of ractopamine in one of Olymel’s pork shipments.

The adrenoreceptor agonist is banned in China, the EU and Russia, but is legal in Canada and the US.

Olymel, though, claims it does not use ractopamine and has launched an investigation to establish how pork processed at its Vallee-Jonction factory in Quebec came to contain ractopamine.

Hundreds of suppliers face investigation

A company spokesperson said it is probing “a few hundred” independent pig farmers who supply the Vallée-Jonction plant, which slaughters 35,000 pigs per week and has 1,400 staff.

We shouldn’t find any residues of ractopamine in our pork, so we are investigating now where it may have been a problem from one of our suppliers,” said a company spokesperson.

The company representative said Olymel is not able to disclose any further information until the investigation is complete. Results are expected soon but the business would not put a timeframe on this.

It is understood that CFIA is in contact with its Chinese counterparts and in conjunction with Olymel, all three parties are collaborating to establish how the banned drug ended up in one of the most important markets for Canada pork.

Senior food safety figures in Canada fear this failure could curb future trade with China, badly affecting future dealings with its second-largest pork market.

Behind only the US, China imported over 250,000 tonnes of Canadian pork in the 12 months to March 2017, according to data provided exclusively to this site by World Trade Stats.

Exports to China from the Olymel Vallée-Jonction factory have been suspended until the investigation is concluded and any pork in transit has been recalled. However, shipments of pork to China are still flowing from Olymel’s eight factories and cold storage facilities licensed to send pig meat to China.

In total, the company exports pork products to 65 countries.

Related News

Newly Weds Foods said the 'root cause' of the problem had been found

Cross-contamination a cause of huge US meat recall

Food inflation has continued to rise across Canada

Meat prices in Canada expected to rise 9%

Channel Fish Processing said it would stick with its supplier, despite the recall

Fish firm caught up in huge US recall

Pork production is climbing up across Europe, despite a slowdown in exports

EU pig production increases but farmgate prices remain steady

Canada now exports 70% of the pork it produces domestically

Access ‘paramount’ for Canadian pork

Canada's pig herd has continued to grow for four years in succession

Canada’s pig herd continues to grow

China is likely to see increased levels of industrialised pig farming in 2017

China’s climate agenda sparks pork modernisation

The Canadian government has given almost $1 million to the pork sector to develop selective breeding

Selective pig breeding to benefit from Canadian government funding

Canada wants a smooth flow of pork entering the US - it's largest export market

Canadian pig farmers address US restriction imbalance

Imported pork is still the top meat found in Chinese consumer shopping baskets

EU pork sales boost to China may be short-lived

Atria hopes to export around 3,000 tonnes of pork to China this year

‘Historic’ day as Atria closes China pork deal

Related Products

See more related products

Comments (1)

Hussein Keshwani - 02 Jun 2017 | 06:14

Incorrect description of ractopamine

In this article, ractopamine is incorrectly described as an anabolic steroid. Ractopamine is NOT an anabolic steroid, rather it is a β adrenoreceptor agonist.

02-Jun-2017 at 18:14 GMT

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.