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China blocks pork imports from 3rd Canadian company amid escalating tensions

Packs of Canadian pork are displayed for sale at a supermarket in Beijing, Tuesday, June 18, 2019.  .
Packs of Canadian pork are displayed for sale at a supermarket in Beijing, Tuesday, June 18, 2019. . (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING — China will halt imports from a Canadian company after food safety issues were detected in one batch of pork, the Xinhua state news agency reported Tuesday, a move likely to fuel speculation that China is retaliating against Canada for arresting a Chinese tech executive.

After Canada arrested Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in December at the request of the U.S., China has arrested two Canadians, suspended the permits of two other Canadian pork importers and halted all new purchases of Canadian canola seeds.

READ MORE: China set to increase Canadian meat inspections, officials say in memo

Canadian businesses brace for China’s next move
Canadian businesses brace for China’s next move

Xinhua said customs authorities in the eastern city of Nanjing found traces of ractopamine, a feed additive banned in many countries, in pork products from Frigo Royal. It said China will suspend imports from Frigo Royal and also stop accepting health certificates issued by the company’s veterinary officer.

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According to Xinhua, China’s Customs Administration will also increase the number of inspections for ractopamine in Canadian pork imports.

READ MORE: Canada, U.S. reach deal to continue pork trade if swine fever is detected

China is killing many of its pigs because of a gruesome and incurable fever
China is killing many of its pigs because of a gruesome and incurable fever

Ractopamine is known as a “muscle drug” that accelerates pigs’ growth. While it is banned in China, Russia and EU countries, it has been approved for use in the U.S. and Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website shows Frigo Royal — also known as Expedi-Go Transit — on a list of federally registered meat businesses and their licensed operators.