U.S. lifts restrictions against Cargill Canada plant

Tue Dec 8, 2009 4:30pm EST
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has lifted import restrictions on Cargill Inc's giant canola crushing plant in Western Canada after it had repeatedly found salmonella in its shipments during the past year.

The news lifted ICE Canada canola futures. Cargill's plant in Clavet, Saskatchewan is the largest in North America, with crushing capacity of 1.5 million tonnes.

The plant, which was expanded last summer, can now resume sales to Canada's biggest market for canola meal and boost Canadian crushing volumes that had fallen 7 percent so far this crop year due largely to salmonella problems.

The FDA's website no longer lists the Cargill plant among those on import alert status for salmonella in animal feeds. It still lists three Bunge Ltd canola plants in Nipawin, Saskatchewan; Hamilton, Ontario; and Altona, Manitoba. Viterra's plant in Ste. Agathe, Manitoba, is also still under import-alert status for salmonella detection.

"(It's) confirmed. We are off and able to trade with no restrictions," said spokesman Robert Meijer in an email to Reuters on Tuesday.

Between November 2008 and October 2009, the FDA had halted Cargill shipments of canola meal or bulk canola 23 times, the FDA's online database shows.

The FDA imposes import-alert status on companies whose shipments they refuse, which adds scrutiny to their future shipments.

Salmonella bacteria can cause sickness in humans, although canola meal is used as a protein source in livestock feed.   Continued...

<p>Prime Minister Stephen Harper inspects honor guards during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing December 3, 2009. REUTERS/Grace Liang</p>