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Canada braces for backlog with new US meat tests

by 5m Editor
9 November 2007, at 10:52am

CANADA - Canadian meat exporters braced for delays in shipments to their biggest export market after the U.S. Agriculture Department said it would begin on Friday to double its testing of shipments crossing the border

Late on Thursday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Canadian beef processors said they still did not have all the details on how the new testing program would work.

"There's a lot of questions that perhaps might not be answered until we hit the ground running," said Robert Meijer, spokesman for Cargill Ltd, Canada's top beef processor.

Until more details are available, Cargill will not export meat destined to become ground beef, Meijer said. Cargill has not cut Canadian production ahead of the new measures, but the company may have to consider that if the testing process causes major snarls at the border, he said.

The USDA first announced last Saturday that it would test Canadian beef, pork and poultry for bacteria that cause food poisoning, and hold shipments at the border pending results.

On Thursday, the USDA clarified what types of meat it would test, the rate of testing, and how it would recall contaminated shipments. It also said that it would consider alternatives to holding product at the border.

Source: ReutersCanada

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