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Statement of the American Meat Institute on the Partial Reopening of the Japanese Market to U.S. Beef:

Monday, December 12, 2005

“We are pleased that Japan has reopened its market to a portion of U.S. beef. This partial reopening of trade with the U.S. in beef from animals 20 months and younger is a small, but important step toward the goal of restoring full beef trade with Japan. While this is good news for U.S. cattlemen and meatpackers who have shouldered the economic hardship of lost markets, it’s important to remember that a large percentage of the U.S. beef supply will remain ineligible for export to Japan due to the restrictive age limitation.

We urge the Japanese government to adhere to standards laid out by the Office of International Epizootics ( OIE ) which stipulate that if appropriate risk mitigation measures are implemented there should be no cattle age requirement imposed on beef from a country with a low risk level for BSE, like the United States. The U.S. has effective and appropriate mitigation measures in place, some for more than a decade, to fight BSE. There’s absolutely no valid scientific reason why Japanese consumers should be denied full access to American beef – which is among the safest, highest quality beef in the world.

It is imperative that the governments in both countries work expeditiously to review the restrictive age limitation on eligible product and modify these conditions in a manner consistent with international guidelines, which clearly justify a full restoration of American beef trade with Japan.”

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

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