October 25, 2008
Mexico imposes ban on meat imports from six US plants
Mexico has banned meat imports from six US plants without a stated reason, according to US private sector sources.
Officials with Mexico's meat safety agency had refused to explain the suspension, saying that they were unable to comment on Mexico's routine audit of US meat plants that took place this year.
US industry sources expressed alarm and unhappiness at the unexplained move, which came weeks after the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) banned meat imports from Mexican plants and convinced Mexico to temporarily suspend all meat exports to the US to avoid further FSIS action against the plants.
A FSIS spokeswoman refused to comment on the audit and delisting, only stating that "As with any other audit, issues identified at the time of audit have been shared with industry. We continue to work very closely with Mexico to discuss their findings and will be working with the delisted US plants as well."
The four delisted beef plants are the Swift Beef Company in Cactus, Texas; Cargill Meat Solutions in Friona, Texas; Caviness Beef Packers in Hereford, Texas; Washington Beef in Toppenish, Washington; and Walt's Wholesale Meats in Woodland, Washington.
SENASICA also delisted Tyson Fresh Meats in Waterloo, Iowa, which produces pork.
FSIS delisted 11 Mexican meat plants after June and July audits, but relisted nine for exports to the US on September 29.