The response among international trading partners to yesterday’s announcement of the finding of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in an older dairy cow in California has been measured, with no indications of market closures or interruptions in the flow of U.S. beef to global customers.
“Our international trading partners are, by all indications, adhering to sound science with regard to this finding of an atypical case of BSE,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “Our industry appreciates the balanced approach to this situation and the fact that our international markets understand that U.S. beef is absolutely safe.”
USMEF’s international directors report that U.S. beef shipments are continuing to clear inspections in all markets. Reports of concerns are minimal. The government of South Korea is proceeding with caution while it awaits the outcome of USDA’s epidemiological studies on the dairy cow. Korea has intensified its surveillance at inspection points, but the market remains open. USMEF is continuing to work with Korean retailers and trade to ensure that the distribution process continues and any questions regarding U.S. beef are addressed.
USMEF has been active on a number of fronts to ensure that accurate information is conveyed to key audiences. Those include:
- Calls and visits to key international retailers, food service operators and importers.
- Media interviews, both in the U.S. and internationally.
- Factsheets distributed to media, trading partners and members.
- Support to FAS offices overseas.
- Monitoring and interaction with consumers through social media to ensure accurate information is shared.
USMEF is continuing to tailor and share key messages with targeted audiences to convey critical facts about the case:
- This case, only the fourth BSE case in U.S. history, is by all indications an “atypical” case, which would mean that the U.S. preventive measures against BSE remain intact and there likely are not any related cases from the cow’s cohorts (herd).
- U.S. beef remains perfectly safe and wholesome.
- USDA’s monitoring program – which is 100 times more vigilant than that recommended by the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) – is working.
“We also need to recognize the tireless efforts of the FAS team, both in the U.S. and internationally, to communicate the scientific facts and reassure our trading partners,” said Seng. “They are working around the clock to ensure the continued flow of U.S. beef to all of our trading partners.”
USMEF will continue to provide updates on this situation as new information becomes available.