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American Meat Institute Statement on Announcement by Mexico That It Will Resume U.S. Beef Imports

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

We are encouraged that the government of Mexico will seek to restore limited imports of U.S. boneless beef products. However, we believe full trade in all beef products and in live animals from the U.S. should be restored swiftly.

The U.S. has taken extraordinary measures in the wake of a single case of BSE announced in December. New regulations put in place by both USDA and FDA strengthen the firewalls in place to prevent animal disease and to protect human health.

Because the BSE infectious agent is not in meat and because the “specified risk materials” that can carry the infectious agent are removed, U.S. beef is safe. We urge the Mexican government - and all trading partners - to adopt trade policies based on the facts and on sound science. Trade in cattle and beef by BSE minimal risk nations like the U.S. and Canada is well within the parameters of guidelines issued by the Office of International Epizootics. It is time that all nations began operating within OIE’s guidelines.

Indeed, AMI last week urged the Secretary of Agriculture to take a leadership role in harmonizing North American beef trade policies. Mexico’s announcement is a positive step toward trade restoration, but more action is needed and warranted.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Sr. Vice President, Pub. Aff.
Ayoka Blandford
Manager, Public Affairs

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