BSE Risk Status & Country Of Origin Labeling

BSE Risk Status & Country Of Origin Labeling

BSE Risk Status & Country Of Origin Labeling

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the U.S. Meat Export Federation are in agreement with the current administration that the USDA's recent decision to ease restrictions on beef imports from countries where BSE continues to persist could eventually expand export markets for the U.S. The new APHIS rule brings the U.S. import standards for determining trading partners' bovine spongiform encephalopathy risk in line with those of the World Organization for Animal Health, reopening the American market to beef from the European Union. Meat from the E.U. has been barred from U.S. entry since 1998. The new rule easing restriction on beef imports directs new focus on country of origin labeling, which is now a subject of dispute within the courts and in Congress, and has itself divided the beef industry as Washington cattleman Jack Field attests.

FIELD: Depending on which segment of the cattle industry you speak with you get a different response as to the level of support of the final (COOL) decision. The NCBA is very concerned about the potential retaliatory response that we may see from our trading partners, but on the other hand there's also a lot of folks that would say this is the right decision. My hope is that as an industry we can get a solution that everybody supports and buys into that gives the consumer certainty and moves us forward.

Bill Bullard, CEO of the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, USA, one of the groups opposing the BSE rule, argues that the new rule could put U.S. consumers and cattle herds at greater risk by allowing U.S. meatpackers to begin supplementing tight U.S. beef supplies with beef of questionable safety from the E.U..

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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