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AMI Statement: USDA's Proposal to Allow Certain Cattle and Beef Products From BSE Minimal Risk Countries into the United States

Thursday, March 4, 2004

(Attribute Statement to AMI President J. Patrick Boyle)

The U.S. meat industry supports USDA’s proposal to allow certain cattle and beef products from BSE minimal risk countries into the U.S. However, we believe the proposal should go even further by allowing all animals for slaughter to enter the U.S. if appropriate risk mitigation measures are taken. It is inconsistent to allow meat from older animals - but not the animals - into the U.S., given the control measures in place in the U.S. to remove specified risk materials that can carry BSE.

As USDA has repeatedly stated, beef - regardless of its nation of origin - does not contain the BSE infectious agent. When specified risk materials are removed - as they are in both the U.S. and Canada - there simply are no food safety concerns.

Last week, the American Meat Institute sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman urging her to initiate the full restoration of cattle and beef trade with Canada. Reestablishing trade with Canada is a necessary prerequisite for complete normalization of trade with Mexico. In addition, taking this sort of leadership role can lead to harmonization of trading policies in North America and globally.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Sr. VP, Public Affairs

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