China renews beef trade deal with Argentina, despite antibiotic contamination scare

China and Argentina renewed their beef trade deal in late July, despite a shipment of 11,000t of Argentinian beef having to be destroyed due to antibiotic contamination, according to globalmeatnews.com

It says that the agreement, which expired on July 23, was renewed following a visit to China by an Argentinian beef delegation, headed by the Argentinian minister for agriculture.

Argentinian beef exports came under scrutiny from China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) agency, the meat industry news website says, when traces of the banned antibiotic chloramphenicol were found in a shipment.

It goes on to say that the AQSIQ agency is putting in place stricter inspections of meat imports into China for banned antibiotics such as chloramphenicol.

Southern Hemisphere suppliers account for 90% of beef imports to China, while Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, together accounted for close to 65% of grass-fed beef imported into China in the first half of this 2016.

Last year over 40,000t of Argentinian beef was shipped to China, an increase of 110% on the previous year. Beef exports to China account for 36% of Argentina’s total exports.

The news of the beef deal between China and Argentina comes after the US and Brazil agreed to allow access to each other’s fresh beef markets.

Under the deal, Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply will allow US beef and beef products access to the Brazilian market for the first time since 2003.

Meanwhile, the US has allowed Brazil access to its beef market for the first time since 1999. It is understood that exports could begin within three months.

Brazil already exports significant amounts of cooked beef to the US, which is used in products such as corned beef.

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