August 28, 2003



USDA Will Begin Issuing Canada Beef Permits on 29th August               


The U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin issuing permits to allow in Canadian boneless boxed beef derived from cattle slaughtered before they reached 30 months of age, USDA spokeswoman Julie Quick said Wednesday.


The USDA is on the verge of approving Canada's proposal to verify that cattle being slaughtered there are under 30 months old, a new U.S. requirement to allow in Canadian beef, Quick told OsterDowJones.                    


"We're at the final stages of certifying the Canadian process and we intend to issue permits Friday," she said.


As part of the USDA's requirements for issuing permits to Canadian beef exporters, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is required to verify that packing facilities there are only slaughtering cattle under 30 months old.


CFIA officials said their plan to do that is based on physical signs in the animals, such as teeth development. A source at CFIA said this week that plan was submitted to USDA and the Canadian agency is waiting for approval.


USDA Secretary Ann Veneman said Monday that she expected permits will be issued this week for Canadian beef shipments, but some U.S. industry sources were skeptical because the CFIA proposal had not yet been approved.


Despite the skepticism, Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures touched the daily allowable limit-down price floor on the Monday closing bell in response Veneman's statement.
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