The Chinese government has announced a suspension on imported meat products from Canada over claims of forged customs documents, the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries.
The Chinese embassy in Canada announced the move in a statement Wednesday, saying the decision had been sparked by the discovery of “ractopamine residues” in a batch of pork sent by Canadian company Frigo Royal on June 3.
Ractopamine is a veterinary drug and feed additive which is banned in mainland China due to concerns over the possible negative effects on consumer health, according to the Hong Kong Center for Food Safety.
It is permitted for use in the United States and Canada, however.
China immediately suspended Frigo Royal’s import license but, according to the embassy, a subsequent investigation by Canadian authorities found 188 forged veterinary certificates on exported meat products.
In response, Beijing called on the Canadian government to stop issuing health certificates to meat exported after June 25, effectively cutting off Canadian suppliers.
“We hope the Canadian side would attach great importance to this incident, complete the investigation as soon as possible and take effective measures to ensure the safety of food exported to China in a more responsible manner,” the embassy statement said.
CNN has reached out to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for comment.