In this file:
· 'Food terrorism' could be at play in China's ban on Canadian meat, one expert says
· Afesorgbor: China ban forces pork, beef producers to scramble for new markets
· China’s meat import move risks stoking consumer anger
'Food terrorism' could be at play in China's ban on Canadian meat, one expert says
Rachel Gilmore, CTVNews.ca (Canada)
July 5, 2019
When Canadians reach for a jar of honey or sizzle bacon to a crisp in the morning, terrorism is likely the last thing on their minds.
But according to John Keogh, a supply chain expert who has advised governments and agencies from around the world, the threat of food terrorism is real – and he theorized that could be at play in the Canada-China dispute.
Last Wednesday, China unilaterally blocked all imports of Canadian meat following the discovery of ractopamine – an additive that's banned in China – in Canadian pork products. When the Canadian Food Inspection Agency asked to review the pork's export certificate, they found it was inauthentic.
The RCMP is now investigating the fraudulent certificate.
In an interview with CTV's Power Play last Thursday, Keogh said it's not impossible that the fraudulent certificate that bruised Chinese consumer confidence in Canadian products could be the latest escalation of a diplomatic feud between the two countries following Canada's arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.
"Could someone in a foreign government or a foreign agency interfere by hacking into a Canadian system and putting in false documentation? Absolutely," said Keogh.
However, there is no concrete evidence indicating that the Chinese government had a hand in the fraudulent certificate.
Keogh said that Canada signed an agreement with the Chinese government as recently as 2017 to put a stop to the countries' hacking of one another's business and trade secrets.
"I'm pretty sure that Canada was not hacking into the Chinese systems…but we know that the Chinese were and CSIS have picked up on that in the past," said Keogh.
For former Canadian Security Intelligence Service director Richard Fadden, the theory seems a bit far-fetched.
"I think that this is a possibility in theory, but I really don't understand why the Chinese government would feel it necessary to do this, given everything they have at their disposal," he said.
Fadden pointed to the examples of previous diplomatic disputes between China and other countries, such as Norway. When Norway issued a Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, China unabashedly expressed its dissatisfaction by slapping import controls on Norwegian salmon.
"They play hardball when they're involved in trade disputes, and there's a lot of evidence of this around the world," Fadden said.
What is food terrorism?
The central issue in this one hypothetical that could be at play in the Canada-China dispute is a concept called "food terrorism." It's just one of what Keogh called the four pillars of the food system: food fraud, food safety, food defence and food security.
In China, food fraud is a common issue. Residents will pay a premium for brands from countries they trust – like Canada – and organized criminals are acutely aware of this reality.
In an interview with CTV National News last Thursday, Keogh said criminals will copy Canadian branding and packaging then substitute the quality product inside with their own cheaper, substandard product.
According to Keogh – who lived in Asia for six years – that means that the familiar face Chinese shoppers trust on the package of gooey honey could have an entirely different product inside.
While Keogh says food fraud is a very real concern in China, food terrorism takes on a whole other dimension – an active desire to harm a population, or even to destabilize an economy.
"[Food terrorism entails] a malicious intent to sabotage a supply chain or to deliberately contaminate a supply chain," Keogh said. "It's the deliberate contamination of a product with either biological or other means, including physical aspects or putting something into a product that may cause harm to a population."
Keogh went on to say that there are different forms this "food terrorism" can take.
"The second component of this is also the deliberate sabotage of a particular company, or a particular brand, or a particular country…food terrorism extends to trying to destabilize an economy and certainly, in this case, the Canadian meat industry will suffer significantly from this."
Because of eroding consumer confidence in the 7.66 million kilograms of Canadian beef that were exported to China in the first four months of 2019 alone – products that sell at a premium in Chinese markets – Keogh said the Canadian economy will take a hit.
"Because Canada is in pre-election phase, this could also cause some problems for the Liberal government," Keogh said.
RCMP investigation ongoing ...
Canada in 'sensitive time' right now: Keogh ...
Afesorgbor: China ban forces pork, beef producers to scramble for new markets
Sylvanus Kwaku Afesorgbor, Brendan McDougall & Jiahao Zhu, Special to Postmedia Network
via The London Free Press (Canada) - July 5, 2019
The China-Canada relationship has been deteriorating following the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei chief financial officer.
She faces possible extradition to the United States on charges of helping Iran evade American sanctions. Apart from detaining two Canadians in retaliation, the diplomatic rift also has had negative consequences for bilateral trade between Canada and China.
There has been a direct adverse effect on Canada’s agri-food sector. First, there was the ban of Chinese imports of canola from Canada. That ban derailed the cordial relationship that existed between the two countries.
But now, tensions have escalated with a Chinese ban on all meat from Canada over claims of 188 forged veterinary certificates and the discovery of ractopamine residues in a shipment of pork by a Canadian producer. The Canadian government has called in the RCMP to investigate a falsified export certificate.
Ractopamine is a feed additive used to promote leanness in animals for domestic consumption. Ractopamine is allowed to be used at a specified limit in North America, but it’s banned elsewhere, including China, Japan and the European Union.
The current ban may jeopardize the co-operative agreements between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and China’s General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. That includes the deal signed in 2012 for Canadian beef, beef products, tallow and dairy.
Within the global livestock market, Canada is a major player, especially in the cattle and hogs sector. Canada is well-integrated in the global economy and its livestock industry is highly dependent on foreign market access to sell excess production.
For cattle and beef products, about 50 per cent of domestic production is exported. For hog and pork products, it’s more than 70 per cent, according the Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.
Livestock, including live animal, red meat and other animal products, accounted for more than 17 per cent of total agri-food export in 2016.
Canadian beef and pork exporters have become increasingly reliant on China. China is a significant player in the world meat market due to its huge population of more than 1.3 billion people. It’s also the world’s second-largest economy, with a GDP of about $13 trillion.
Chinese consumers have provided much-needed demand for Canadian exporters. Exports have helped to maintain Canadian farm income and increase profit margins. So...
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China’s meat import move risks stoking consumer anger
Canada supplied 12 percent of China’s pork imports in 2018 and even more this year, which makes the government’s decision to stop all Canadian meat imports that much more surprising
By D'Arce McMillan, The Western Producer (Canada)
July 4, 2019
China’s rejection of all Canadian meat is a stunning act considering forecasts that pork prices there will rise 70 percent or more in the coming months, topping records hit in 2016, as its hog herd staggers under the onslaught of African swine fever.
Pork is by far the most important meat in China and accounts for a hefty portion of its consumer price index so soaring prices could lead to consumer anger and unrest, compounding the worries from a slowing economy as the trade war with the United States slows exports and production.
To cut off a major pork supplier like Canada, when American pork is already restricted by a 62 percent tariff, is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Canada supplied 12 percent by dollar value of China’s pork imports in 2018. This year we were supplying even more.
In the first four months of this year, Canada exported $310 million of pork to China, up 80 percent over the same period last year. Beef exports to China and Hong Kong totalled $115.4 million, up 70 percent.
China’s communist leaders are unburdened by democratic norms like free elections and opinion polls but will they be able to ignore for long an unhappy population, angered by mismanagement of a crisis?
The latest problem is that China says it found fraudulent documents accompanying meat from Canada’s ractopamine-free certification program.
It is troubling if true. The RCMP and the Canada Border Security Agency are investigating the allegation and as of last week authorities had questions about whether the meat in question actually came from Canada.
China’s meat blockage must be viewed in the context of its multiple pressures on Canada, including the detention of two Canadians in China and the blocking of canola imports, to get Ottawa to free Meng Wanzhou, a top executive of China’s tech giant Huawei, now detained in Vancouver awaiting an extradition hearing on an American arrest warrant.
Canada’s farmers are feeling the pain of reduced exports but China’s people too will soon pay the price for Beijing’s hard line.
The country’s own agricultural ministry estimates that pork prices will jump more than 70 percent from the previous year because of shortages caused by the culling of the herd to try to limit the spread of ASF. The cull and other measures are having only modest success.
Inflation in China is on the boil, in part because pork prices are already almost 30 percent higher than last year at the same time and the real pork shortage won’t hit until the second half of the year. It built up a surplus of pork from herd culling in the early months of the ASF outbreak, but that is now being rapidly consumed.
China’s pork imports in May were near a three-year high and were up 63 percent from the same month last year.
In that month, it was already cutting off some Canadian exporters and had the tariff on American pork, so hog producers in the European Union and Brazil reaped the benefit. China is also pulling in meat from other South American countries, Russia and India. Imports of lamb, beef and chicken are also much increased.
Last week, China introduced new loans and incentives to hog producers to encourage them to restock their operations. Chinese officials had been previously reluctant to do that because of the threat of being hit again by ASF, lack of funds to buy scarce and expensive piglets, and the general upheaval in the industry since Beijing launched a major restructuring several years ago. The restructuring was designed to shift production from small operations in the country’s south to large ones in the north to address environmental problems.
Also last week, China’s agriculture ministry bravely said ASF is now “effectively controlled” and production of other meats such as poultry are in good supply. Poultry production is up 16 percent year on year.
However, many observers believe there will be no quick solution.
Jim Long, head of hog genetics company Genesus, which has strong business contacts in China, says the hog and pork shortage is just beginning...