STC Number - 251

Zero tolerance for pathogens on raw meat and poultry products

Maintained by: China
Raised by: United States of America
Supported by:
First date raised: June 2007 G/SPS/R/45, paras. 15-16
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 02 Meat and edible meat offal
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Food safety; Human health; International Standards / Harmonization
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In June 2007, the United States indicated that China maintained an unrealistic zero tolerance level for pathogens in raw meat and poultry products. This requirement far exceeded the international standards; was more trade restrictive than necessary; and lacked scientific justification. The United States was also concerned that while several US poultry plants had been de-listed because of this requirement, a similar zero tolerance was apparently not applied to Chinese-produced products.
China observed that this issue had been previously discussed bilaterally and would again be addressed at a meeting scheduled for September. The requirement that food be free from microbiological contamination applied both to imported and domestic products. Health problems relating to microbiological contamination had occurred in the United States, such as the situation involving spinach, and many Members had similar requirements to protect the health and safety of consumers.