China has lambasted the EU for its handling of a potential ban on exports of Chinese meat and seafood products, called for after the EU’s Veterinary Committee found “serious deficiencies” in the Chinese control system for medicinal residues.

The committee discovered traces of the antibiotic chloramphenicol, which is banned in Europe because it is linked with a potentially lethal form of anaemia.

China insisted that it has tried hard to adhere to EU food standards and decried the EU’s findings of a few producers’ lower standards as representative of all.

Wang Jun, of Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultants, told Reuters: “China’s standards for using antibiotics in meat and seafood are slightly lower than in the US and Britain, but the standards for exports should have no problems.

“I think the EU report may have referred to problems related to one or two enterprises, but it would not be representative.”

An EU ban would affect hundreds of millions of euros worth of imports, covering rabbit meat, poultry meat, honey, molluscs, crustaceans, frozen shrimps, prawns and pet food.