China halts some meat imports from US processor Tyson Foods

The Tyson suspension shouldn't have much impact on the meat trade between the two countries. PHOTO: REUTERS

INDIANA (BLOOMBERG) - China has suspended some meat imports from US processing giant Tyson Foods, the country's customs office said on Monday (Aug 29).

The halt affects products from a plant owned by Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary, for shipments from Aug 29, after some pig trotters from the producer failed inspection, according to a notice published on the customs website.

The US Department of Agriculture confirmed on its website that the Logansport, Indiana, facility was ineligible for exports to China.

The move follows Beijing's halt on shipments of meat products from two other US plants in the past month or so, citing the presence of ractopamine, a feed additive used in the US but banned by China.

The Tyson suspension should not have much impact on the meat trade between the two countries as there are still a lot of US plants eligible to export to China, but it does come at a time when Chinese buyers may be considering more pork purchases from overseas markets, said Ms Pan Chenjun, a senior analyst at Rabobank.

"China's pork demand is expected to improve in the coming months and prices are being pressured to climb further," Ms Pan said.

Upcoming festivals and cooler weather are expected to lift consumption of China's favourite meat. Beijing announced on Monday that it will start releasing pork from state reserves to bolster supplies.

"We work closely with the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service to ensure that we produce all of our food in full compliance with government safety requirements," Tyson said in an e-mailed statement.

"We're confident our products are safe and we're hopeful consultations between the US and Chinese governments will resolve this matter."

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