September 11, 2003

 

 

Canada Welcomes Resumption of Beef Movement; US Senator Urges Caution

 

News that Canadian boneless beef shipments to the U.S. resumed Wednesday was welcomed by the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA), while U.S. senator Tom Harkin is urging some caution in the granting of the export licenses in order to limit the impact on U.S. cattle and beef markets.

   

Lakeside Packers in Brooks, Alberta, reportedly shipped two truckloads of refrigerated cuts of boneless beef, each containing about 18,000 kilograms of meat from cattle under the age of 30 months to the U.S. Wednesday.

   

"Supplies of cattle and beef have built up in Canada during the time its exports to the United States have been prohibited. I call upon (the U.S. Department of Agriculture) to manage the import-licensing process to allow for a smooth transition for renewed Canadian boneless beef shipments to lessen the risk of negative impacts on U.S. cattle and beef markets," Harkin (D-Iowa) said in a statement.

   

Harkin also said he hoped the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration would move forward as expeditiously as possible in reviewing their policies for protecting against BSE's entry into the U.S.

   

Meanwhile, the resumption of beef shipments was seen as encouraging for Canada's cattle industry.

   

"Hopefully the permitting process will become smoother as people get used to the paperwork and Canada will begin to see a lot more beef flowing south," Neil Jahnke, president of the CCA, said in a prepared statement.

    

The shipment of beef to the U.S. is the first since the diagnosis of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease, in a Canadian cow was made on May 20. Some shipments of veal moved across the border earlier in the week.

    

Currently, the only beef products from Canada being accepted by the U.S. are boneless beef from cattle under 30 months of age, boneless veal and liver.

    

"While this is good news, we're not out of the woods yet," said Jahnke. "Our industry won't begin to recover until we also have the way cleared for live cattle exports. Canadians have given our industry tremendous support by buying Canadian beef in record quantities. We're calling on them to continue that support, because we still need it."

   

Intensive work will continue until all classes of Canadian cattle and all Canadian beef products are once again eligible for export, he said.