The country's top quality watchdog on Friday said it had
returned 460 tons 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.
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.
Media reports said that the beetle may cause grain damage of up
to 30 percent, although 75 percent 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
"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.
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, according to its website, is a century-old
agricultural marketing company with annual sales of US$2
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, which are mainly crushed for oil and used as animal
feed, are the biggest single US farm export to China, according to
the American Soybean Association.
Last year, more than 10 million tons of soybeans were exported
from the US to China.
Apart from soybeans, the AQSIQ had also reported unsafe food,
pacemakers, wooden packaging, and mechanical and electrical
machines from the US in the past few months.
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.
(China Daily September 29, 2007)