SHANGHAI, China – China announced Saturday that it was blocking imports of some U.S. processed meat that showed signs of contamination, turning the tables on critics who in recent months have questioned the safety of Chinese exports.
The suspension affected some of the largest U.S. food companies, including Cargill Meat Solutions and Tyson Foods, the world’s largest meat processor.
In recent weeks, Beijing has rejected a number of other U.S. products at its ports of entry, including health supplements, sugar-free drink mix and dried fruits such as raisins and apricots. The increasingly aggressive moves are raising concern that what started as a seemingly isolated investigation in March over contaminated pet food from China has trigged a broader trade skirmish.
The Chinese government said it had stopped problem shipments from seven U.S. companies – among them, Tyson’s frozen poultry products were contaminated with salmonella and Cargill’s frozen pork ribs were laced with a feed additive designed to keep animals lean, the government said. The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine also said that frozen chicken feet from Sanderson Farms contained an anti-parasite treatment residue and frozen pig ears from Van Luin Foods USA tested positive for the leanness-enhancing additive, called ractopamine.
Saturday’s announcement on the Web site of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said China had given Cargill and Van Luin 45 days to fix the problems. The government did not specify whether the other companies’ products would be banned indefinitely. It was unclear, too, whether the suspension applied only to the products found to be contaminated or whether it was a blanket ban on all the companies’ products.