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Audio: Working to Further Improve Access for U.S. Meat in Canada

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U.S. beef, pork and lamb exports enjoy duty-free access to Canada through NAFTA, and shipments usually encounter very few obstacles at the Canadian border. But there are still technical and regulatory issues that sometimes obstruct U.S.-Canada meat trade, and Cheyenne McEndaffer, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) technical services manager, is part of an industry team working to further smooth the export process. This team’s recommended changes to the export requirements for Canada, as listed in the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Export Library, have been developed over the past several months and shared with FSIS, which is working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to harmonize the two countries’ regulations where possible.


TRANSCRIPT:

Joe Schuele: U.S. beef, pork and lamb exports destined for Canada generally move across the border without difficulty, but there is always room for improvement and U.S. Meat Export Federation Technical Services Manager Cheyenne McEndaffer is part of an industry team working to further smooth the export process. She has more details in this USMEF report.

Cheyenne McEndaffer: Obviously our northern and southern border neighbors are both critically important to beef and pork exporters. Canada is a stable market, we have very few technical issues, we have access for all products, and so product flows easily across the border for the most part, which is great, but since we have so much volume going over we have continued to work on some of the more nuisance items that we have, like differences in labeling, differences in cut nomenclature, order issues sometimes with micro-testing – we like to mitigate as many of those as possible to make things easier for our exporters.

Joe Schuele: The next step is to work with the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to implement these proposed changes.

Cheyenne McEndaffer: We started out by getting feedback from our exporters on the labeling complaints that they had, part trimming requirements, some of these smaller technical issues or discrepancies between the two countries. And if you look at the export requirements for Canada exporting to the U.S. and vice-versa, they are very long and onerous and so the thought is Canada and the U.S. both have a very high food safety system, so surely we can harmonize some of these requirements between the two of us so we are working with the North American Meat Institute and other trade associations to put together feedback on the export requirements from both sides and our hope is FSIS and CFIA will take that and we can see, hey, where do we match and where can we move things and where can we meet in the middle.

Joe Schuele: For more information, please visit USMEF.org. For the U.S. Meat Export Federation, I’m Joe Schuele.