The quarantine bureau has rejected a consignment of US pork after tests found traces of a banned drug in meat shipments totalling 103.5 tonnes, but there was no immediate threat of broader retaliatory measures.
The March shipments of frozen pork meat and pig parts were found to contain ractopamine, which is banned in China, but is used in some countries, including the United States, as a feed additive to make meat leaner. In December, the bureau rejected entry of 23.5 tonnes of US pork for the same reason.
If a rash of such cases were found, China could in theory impose more restrictive barriers to US imports, but the amounts involved are tiny compared with overall import volumes and imports also help Beijing moderate domestic food inflation.
China’s pork imports from the US climbed more than three-fold in 2011, but some US meat industry executives say China could…
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