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Corrected Version: Statement Of the American Meat Institute On Agreement Towards Restarting Partial Beef Trade with Japan

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

“The agreement to move towards restarting partial trade in U.S. beef from animals 20 months and younger is yet another step towards a limited restoration of beef trade with Japan. Although we welcome the development by the two governments, it’s important to recognize that even when trade eventually resumes, the vast majority of the U.S. beef supply will remain ineligible for export to Japan due to the age limitation on cattle.

U.S. beef of all ages is safe. The restrictive conditions that continue to be imposed by this agreement with the Government of Japan are inconsistent with OIE standards for international beef trade. OIE guidelines clearly provide that that there should be no cattle age requirement imposed on beef from a country with a low level risk from BSE – like the United States - because effective and appropriate risk mitigation measures have been in place for many years.

During the process of restoring full beef trade, it is critical that Japan, and our other trading partners, recognize that the U.S. food safety system is a single, comprehensive and effective system, and should be treated accordingly.

Japan continues to conduct an extensive audit of the U.S. beef processing and packing system. We are confident that when this exhaustive process is concluded in July, they will have reached the same conclusion the USDA has found: American beef is safe and wholesome.

While the announced intention of the eventual restoration of limited trade is a step in the right direction, the limitation imposed by this agreement underscores the need to adhere to international, science-based standards when negotiating trade agreements.”

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

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