The Canadian Meat Council (CMC) and the North American Meat Institute leaders say consumer attitudes and trade with China are two key issues meat-packing companies face.
Julie Anna Potts, chief executive officer for NAMI, talked about the challenge rising criticisms of the meat industry as a whole and said it’s often based on flawed information.
She and the other leaders were speaking during the CMC's annual meeting in Niagara Falls this week.
“It’s about making those firm commitments to our consumers as to where we are headed” as an industry on those issues, such as animal welfare and use of antibiotics, that are of concern to them, she said.
“Consumers want to enjoy eating that slice of bacon. Let’s give them the opportunity to enjoy eating meat by communicating our information to them.”
David Colwell, president of JBS Canada and chairman of CMC’s board of directors, talked about the rapid spread of African swine fever and its effect on the hog populations in Asia.
“I think we don’t totally understand what’s going to happen when this gap hits the supply chain,” he said.
“There’s going to be something that’s going to happen and that is meat is going to start moving around the world. It’s important to be on top of this” likely disruption in the global meat supply chain as net exporters of pork and other meats.
“It’s not a ‘hope we get through it’ thing. We’ve got to be prepared,” Colwell said.
Chris White, CMC’s president and chief executive officer, said the trade situation with China “is my biggest preoccupation” and said he expects China will remain truculent until after Trudeau and Trump go through elections.
Even as he spoke, China announced that it now wants to inspect every shipment of Canadian pork, a bureaucratic process that will frustrate exporters.