China’s beef ban extends to the Cargill plant in High River, Alberta.

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CALGARY – Representatives of Alberta-based Cargill Protein say they are “still” determining what to do after China announces a partial ban on beef products from a number of countries around the world, including Canada. The country announced last week that it is expanding its order banning meat imports from certain markets under the guise of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the countries concerned are Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada. Chinese authorities initiated a ban on products from the Cargill Protein High River plant on June 28.

A Cargill spokesperson told CTV News in an email that they are still thinking about what the ban would mean for their business.

He said China’s ban would have no effect on the plant’s production capacity, which remains at around 95% since it was temporarily closed as a precaution due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For now, all that has changed is where we send the product originally intended for export to China, which represents a small percentage of our production on the site,” said Daniel Cargill Sullivan.

“We care about local producers, the trade and are working closely with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to determine the next steps. We recognize that it is important for farmers and ranchers to have access to markets and we are working to process livestock and honor our commitments to I also want to make it clear that we also strongly support our commitment to produce high quality beef and safe from our High River factory. ”

The High River processing plant was closed in late April after hundreds of COVID-19 cases were discovered in workers.

Two workers, Bui Thi Hiep and Benito Quesada, died from complications from their illness.

Cargill said last week that it was back to full capacity, but that it would take some time before a backlog of cattle is cleared. The plant processes 4,500 cattle per day, or about 35% of Canada’s total production.

The decision to ban beef products is the last questionable policy to come from China. A few weeks ago, his companies asked food suppliers around the world to sign a document attesting that their cargoes meet safety standards and are not infected with COVID-19.

Exporting countries and regulators have backed down, saying there is no evidence linking infections to food.

(With BNN Bloomberg files)

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