China is requesting that, beginning March 1, a third-party verifies that US pork shipped to the country is free of ractopamine, a feed additive used to promote lean muscle growth.
The step follows Russia’s ban on imports of US meat worth $550 million a year due to the use of the same feed additive. The US is concerned that China’s requirement for third-party testing could hurt US pork exports to the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, valued at $886 million last year.
China imported 8,953 tonnes of pork from the US in December, according to the Beijing-based customs authority. The data doesn’t account for the large amount of so-called variety meats, including pig feet and ears, shunned by US consumers and popular in China, which help American hog suppliers raise their profitability.