News last update:6 Aug 2012

China returns tainted soybeans

China's quality supervisor said it had returned 460 tonnes of soybeans imported from the United States because they contained live Khapra beetles - an extremely destructive pest of grain products and seeds.

The soybeans, in 21 containers, were seized at Huangpu Port in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, according to a circular from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

"It's the first time that China found such a pest in imported soybeans," the circular said.

World's most serious pest
The Khapra beetle is considered one of the world's most serious pests to stored grain products, such as wheat, rice, corn and broomcorn, as well as beans and nuts.

The beetle may cause grain damage of up to 30%, although 75% damage has also been reported. The beetle is mainly spread by trade, because it cannot fly.

The AQSIQ also said in the circular that the US soybeans also contained some other live pests and weeds that could threaten local agriculture.

"According to laws and regulations, we've decided to return the soybeans and suspend the import from The Scoular Company, the supplier," the circular said.

Official US clearance
It said the batch of soybeans had received official inspection and quarantine certificates from the United States, so AQSIQ had asked the US side to investigate and improve its export inspection and quarantine processes.

The Scoular Company is a century-old agricultural marketing company with annual sales of $2 billion.

It is not the first time China has reported problematic soybeans from the US. Late last month, the AQSIQ said that it had recently found "substantial" quality-related problems with imports of US oilseed. It said soybeans shipped from the US often contained harmful weeds, or herbicide residue.

Soybeans are the biggest single US farm export to China, according to the American Soybean Association. Last year, more than 10 million tonnes of soybeans were exported from the US to China.

Counter reaction to unsafe Chinese products
Some foreign media said the moves are knee-jerk reactions to the recent American reports on unsafe Chinese products, including seafood, tires and toys.

However, the Chinese authorities denied the claim, saying that all the moves are normal practice according to rules and regulations.

Editor AllAboutFeed

Or register to be able to comment.