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R-CALF's Continued Attacks on Canadian Beef, Alliance With Activist Group Reveal Splinter Producer Group’s Desperation to Block Imports

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Washington, DC -- Statements today by the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF) alleging that Canadian beef is unsafe are without merit and reveal the splinter group’s true objective: block Canadian imports in order to protect its own economic interests, the American Meat Institute said today.

Canada and the U.S. have virtually identical low-risk profiles for BSE and have implemented the same BSE risk mitigation strategies making Canadian and U.S. beef products safe for North American consumers.

“Given our integrated, North American meat production system, and the adoption of virtually identical food safety requirements in the U.S. and Canada, it is disingenuous and irresponsible to challenge the safety of Canadian beef,” said AMI Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel Mark Dopp. “Calling Canadian beef unsafe is like calling your twin sister ugly.”

Dopp noted that the BSE agent is not present in beef - whether it is from the U.S., Canada or any other nation. Rather, if an animal has BSE, the infectious agent can be present in tissues like the brain and spinal cord. “Tissues that can pose a risk - so-called specified risk materials - are removed and do not enter the food supply. The risk of BSE to Americans and Canadians is so low it can scarcely be quantified,” Dopp said.

“RCALF’s alliance with Public Citizen, which has openly attacked the safety of the U.S. beef supply on many occasions, is surprising and disheartening,” Dopp said. "Their action makes transparent their true agenda: blocking imported beef products altogether at any cost. That is a misguided and disturbing agenda."

For more information contact:
Dave Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
Janet Riley
Sr. VP, Public Affairs

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