China has halted imports of some U.S. pork and chicken products. The move affects a variety of U.S. meat processors and distributors. In general, China's action is viewed as a response to growing international criticism over the country's recent food and product safety record. 

Late last Friday, China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine posted on its Web site that the following suspensions were in place:

  • Frozen chicken meat from Tyson Foods for Salmonella
  • Frozen pork ribs from Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. for a leanness-enhancing feed additive
  • Frozen chicken feet from Sanderson Farms for growth enhancers and anti-parasite drugs
  • Salted pig innards from Triumph Foods
  • Frozen chicken feet from Intervision Foods for Salmonella
  • Frozen pig ears from Van Luin Foods USA for the leanness-enhancing feed additive ractopamine
  • Frozen pork distributed by AJC International for ractopamine

According to news reports, AQSIQ suspended the frozen pork ribs from Cargill and pig ears from Van Luin Foods for 45 days, beginning July 7. There are no indications as to how long the other suspensions will run.
However, Smithfield Foods' and Tyson Foods' officials say that China is interested in buying more pork from them, according to a Reuters' report. 

The amount of product or timing of delivery is not yet spelled out. "We have not entered into any additional purchase agreements of pork to China, however, an interest has been expressed to us for potential purchases. Details are unknown at this point and no further commitments have been made," according to Tyson. 
Through May, China purchased nearly 18,000 metric tons of U.S. pork, up almost 52 percent from 2006, according to USDA.

China recently has dealt with disease issues in its swineherd, which has reduced the country's pork supply. Meanwhile consumer demand in China is on the rise, triggering a rise in prices as well.

Source: Reuters, USDA,