Canada canola meal exports up, US to ease barriers

Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:00pm EST

 * FDA policy to focus on some types of salmonella
 * ADM, Viterra plants still face restrictions
 By Rod Nickel
 WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Canadian exports of
canola meal to the United States have picked up in the current
marketing year, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
looks to ease restrictions on imports of animal feed with
salmonella bacteria.
 The FDA posted a draft policy on its website last August
that would limit its enforcement actions against animal feed
shipments with salmonella to just a few types of the bacteria
known to cause disease in animals and poultry, instead of
flagging all shipments with salmonella.
 It is unclear when the FDA's new policy takes effect, but
Canadian canola meal shipments to the United States rose 17
percent from August through October, Statistics Canada says.
 The FDA imposed shipping restrictions in the past two years
against seven Canadian crushing plants whose canola meal
exports contained salmonella, although only two plants are
still on import-alert status.
 Salmonella causes about 40,000 reported cases of food-borne
illness in humans and kills 400 people in the United States
annually. However, canola meal is shipped to the United States
for use in feed for dairy cattle.
 (For a factbox on salmonella, click: [ID:nN18226021])
 The FDA's webpage outlining the changes still refers to the
policy as a draft and it remains unclear when the new rule
takes effect or whether it is in place. An FDA spokesperson was
not available for comment.
 The Canadian Oilseed Processors Association, which
represents Richardson International, Cargill [CARG.UL], Archer
Daniels Midland (ADM.N), Bunge (BG.N), Louis Dreyfus and
Viterra VT.TO, supports the new policy, it said in a Dec. 29
letter to the FDA, as does the American Feed Industry
 More reliable access to the United States comes as the
Canadian industry is on pace for a record year of crushing,
creating more canola meal.
 "It's unfortunate we had this issue with the U.S., (but)
I'm really happy that it seems to be on the way of being
resolved," said Dave Hickling, vice-president of utilization
for the Canola Council of Canada.
 "It's going to help the FDA, help the industry, it's going
to allow more focus on the higher-risk areas which they should
be focusing on."
 Canada is the world's top exporter of canola, which is
crushed for its oil and meal.
 Canadian canola meal shipments to the United States fell
nearly one-third to 1.2 million tonnes worth C$246 million
(US$248.7 million) during the 2009/10 crop year, which ended on
July 31.
 Viterra and ADM plants are still under import restrictions
and changes in enforcement will not affect the FDA's process of
lifting measures already in place, Hickling said.
 (To see FDA draft policy, click on:
 (1 Canadian dollar=1.011 U.S. dollars)
 (Editing by Dale Hudson)