September 13, 2006


USMEF: Japanese consumers choose US beef



When given the choice of US, Japanese and Australian beef, consumers at a Tokyo beef event Sunday (Sep 10) chose the US variety for its flavour, according to a release from the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).


The event was held at Shinjuku station, the busiest train station in the world, as a part of the USMEF's "We Care" campaign designed to rebuild consumer confidence in US beef. US beef lost its Japanese market after bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, was found in the US in 2003. It resumed briefly in January of 2005, but was shut off again in February after a shipment of veal containing banned bone pieces was found.


The Metropolitan Meat Trade Association, which represents about 1,500 Tokyo butcher shops, sponsored the event, which featured 500 free samples of beef each from the US, Japan and Australia.


US beef was the first to "sell out" and its booth attracted the most consumer attention, the USMEF said. "US beef is very delicious and I am happy US beef is back," one consumer said.


The USMEF is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the US red meat industry and is funded by USDA, exporting companies, and the beef, pork, lamb, corn, sorghum and soybean checkoff programmes.


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