December 30, 2008
Mexico retains ban on US meat plants
Mexico has continued to ban shipments of US meat from 30 plants, despite initial expectations that the ban will be lifted on Monday (Dec 29).
Mexico's agriculture ministry said on Friday (Dec 26) that the plants could be approved for exports again as early as Monday.
The Mexican and the US governments are communicating but resolution may be complicated by the holiday schedule, said Janet Riley, a spokeswoman for the American Meat Institute.
US analysts speculated that the move is Mexico's retaliation to the US' country-of-origin labelling (COOL) law, which has hurt Mexico and Canada's livestock industry. However, both Mexico and the USDA denied the retaliation charge.
Mexico's agriculture ministry said the affected plants fell short on standards such as packaging, labelling and transport conditions.
Many of the banned meat plants are owned by large US meat companies, including Cargill Inc, Tyson Foods Inc, JBS, Seaboard and Smithfield Foods.