Despite guidance from international health organizations stating that imported food shipments are an unlikely source of COVID-19 transmission, the Chinese government implemented sample testing procedures last summer at ports of entry. More recently, China has not only expanded COVID testing to include all imported meat and seafood shipments but also added disinfection and tracing requirements for these products.
Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, says that in recent weeks these new requirements have, to some degree, slowed movement of imported pork and beef products into China’s commercial channels. News coverage of positive tests has also caused some consumer pushback on imported meat products. Haggard notes, however, that China is entering its peak meat buying season leading up to the Lunar New Year, and he expects these obstacles to have less impact moving forward as China’s vaccination programs help curb new COVID outbreaks.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (www.USMEF.org) is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations. USMEF complies with all equal opportunity, non-discrimination and affirmative action measures applicable to it by contract, government rule or regulation or as otherwise provided by law. USMEF is an equal opportunity employer and provider.