Four more Canadian beef facilities, including an Alberta plant, have been approved to export to China, the Canadian government announced Friday.

Lacombe-based Canadian Premium Meats Inc., a processing plant in Quebec and two others in Ontario were also certified for export to China. The companies are LesViandes Laroche Inc., Ryding Regency Meat Packers Ltd., and St. Helen’s Meat Packers Ltd. There are now seven approved facilities in Canada.

“This important step sets the stage to further trade opportunities in China for our beef producers,” said Gerry Ritz, federal agriculture minister. In order to export abroad, a Canadian facility must be a federally registered establishment, and must satisfy the food safety and quality standards of the importing country, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

After banning Canadian beef imports for mad-cow disease concerns in 2003, China agreed in June 2011 to allow imports of Canadian deboned beef from animals under 30 months of age under a staged market access approach. The federal government says it was the first country affected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy to resume trade of beef with China.

Producers’ market development group Canada Beef Inc. said the Chinese market for Canadian deboned beef under 30 months is estimated at about $20 million a year. Full market access could be worth $110 million to the industry.

“From a Canadian beef brand, marketing and promotions perspective, we are pleased an increased number of exporters will now be eligible to ship to this promising and valued market,” Canada Beef president Rob Meijer said in a press release.

“Our reputation as a reliable supplier of high-quality, premium grain-fed beef is at the core of our Canadian beef brand promise to customers around the world. Being able to match demand with supply from a larger complement of federal abattoirs is one of the primary means to ensure Canada will be competitive internationally.”

Source: The Edmonton Journal Jan 2013

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