The Chinese Government has suspended meat imports from Canada over claims of forged customs documents.

In a statement, the Chinese embassy said that the move was in response to ractopamine residues, which were found in a batch of pork sent by Canadian company Frigo Royal on 3 June.

Ractopamine is a veterinary drug and food additive, which is banned in China over concerns of possible negative impact on human health. It is permitted for use in the US and Canada.

Although the Chinese officials suspended Frigo Royal’s import license immediately, according to the embassy, the following investigation conducted by the Canadian authorities identified 188 forged veterinary certificates on exported meat products.

The embassy stated: “We hope the Canadian side would attach great importance to this incident, complete the investigation as soon as possible and take effective measures to ensure the safety of food exported to China in a more responsible manner.”

Additionally, the Chinese Government urged Canada to halt issuing health certificates to meat exported after 25 June.

The decision is expected to create a major impact on Canadian meat suppliers, as China is the second largest trading partner after the US.

According to some media reports, the decision to block Canadian meat was “politically motivated” and in response to the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada in December.

However, the allegation was denied by the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang.