The Sprout: China, Philippines suspend Canadian beef imports

The Sprout: China, Philippines suspend Canadian beef imports


Good day and welcome to the Sprout, where it’s National Bittersweet Chocolate Day and National Oysters Rockefeller Day. I’ll stick with the chocolate, thanks!

Here’s today’s agriculture news.

The Lead 

Real Agriculture reported on Friday that China and the Philippines have temporarily suspended imports of Canadian beef after an atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was found in an Alberta cow last month.

In a statement shared with Real Agriculture, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said Chinese customs have stopped issuing certificates for beef and beef products from Canada until they get more information about the BSE case.

Meanwhile, the Philippines also followed South Korea’s lead by temporarily suspending Canadian beef imports on Jan. 5. Canadian officials reported the BSE case to the World Organization for Animal Health on Dec. 17.

Around Town 

The CFIA says it’s helped Canadian businesses navigate updates to the European Union’s digital system of export certificates, which companies must use to maintain market access under the new Animal Health Law. The updates take effect Jan. 15, and the CFIA release is here.

On Friday, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced $495,000 for the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement to “enable stakeholders to work together to increase innovation and resiliency in Canada’s sheep and goat industries.” The news release is here.

Also on Friday, Bibeau said a new ministerial coordinating committee will handle the ongoing trade dispute with the U.S. over potatoes from Prince Edward Island. The committee has been tasked with “enhancing coordination and collaboration across the federal government to respond to concerns and find solutions.” That news release is here.

In Canada 

A major recall of salad kits has been issued due to possible Listeria contamination. As the Blackburn News reports, 13 different salad kits sold across the country under the Dole and President’s Choice brands have been recalled. The kits have a best-before date of Jan. 8 and 9.

Winnipeg’s Assiniboine College is now offering a free farm-equipment-operator course for Indigenous people living off-reserve. As Global News reports, the course is sponsored by the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and is meant to help fill the chronic labour shortage in agriculture.

Food banks in Nova Scotia are feeding wild game donated by hunters to hungry clients, the Globe and Mail reports.

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Citizen reports on the “perfect storm” of supply disruptions, the pandemic, and rising costs that are making life harder for organizations whose mission is to improve the food security of Ottawans in need.

Internationally 

Moving to supply chains, the Canadian government is resisting pressure to rescind or delay the Jan. 15 deadline for international truckers to get vaccinated. Critics say the measure will further strain supply chains. Reuters has more.

Meanwhile, because of a labour shortage in its domestic food sector, Australia relaxed some of its COVID-19 isolation rules for critical workers on Monday. Asymptomatic close contacts employed in critical supply chains no longer have to isolate, while workers who test positive or are symptomatic won’t be allowed to return to work. The Guardian reports.

The Thai government says it will speed up its inspections of pig farms to prevent an outbreak of African swine fever after the virus was found in a pet hog. Bloomberg has that story

The U.K.’s post-Brexit farm-subsidy plan could increase the country’s reliance on food imports, a powerful parliamentary committee has cautioned. The Guardian has that story.

Noteworthy

The Kicker 

Here’s a story that warms our hearts. Members of Ottawa’s Jewish community are hand-delivering free chicken soup to people with COVID, or who are otherwise worn down by the pandemic. CBC News has more.

Until tomorrow.

This post was copy-edited after publication.

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