Effective Feb. 17, St. Lucia removed the 30-month cattle age limit for imports of U.S. beef, as well as most product restrictions. AMS Export Verification (EV) program requirements no longer apply, and all federally inspected establishments are now eligible to export beef to St. Lucia. However, please note that beef from cattle slaughtered prior to Feb. 17 must still be from an EV-approved plant.
“This is excellent news, and something USMEF and our U.S. trade officials have been pursuing for a long time,” said Elizabeth Wunderlich, USMEF Caribbean representative. “Having the ability to ship bone-in beef to St. Lucia opens some very exciting opportunities for items such as bone-in prime rib, short ribs, T-bone and Porterhouse steaks and bone-in veal chops – just to name a few.”
Wunderlich noted this is not only positive for U.S. suppliers, but St. Lucian buyers as well.
“I can’t wait to give our customers the good news, as many of them have been waiting years to include bone-in beef cuts on their menus,” she said. “I’m expecting to see tremendous interest, and we’re already working on promotional ideas and activities.”
Michael Henney, director of the Agricultural Trade Office for the Caribbean Basin (CBATO), was also pleased to gain expanded beef access in St. Lucia, calling it the result of a persistent team effort.
“On behalf of our CBATO team I want to acknowledge the efforts of many parties, present and past, trade and public sector, to reach this point,” Henney said. “It truly has been a team effort that highlights how effective public and private partnership can be when working together. USMEF, and in particular Elizabeth Wunderlich, deserves special recognition for its hard work and perseverance wrestling with this issue. Taking two special Caribbean BSE technical teams to the U.S. (in 2004 and 2006) laid the groundwork across the Caribbean region for a more scientific approach to BSE and U.S. beef trade. The Nebraska Corn Board also played an instrumental role in supporting those technical teams and follow-up activities over the years.”
Some export restrictions are still in place for St. Lucia. For example, beef offal (regardless of cattle age) remains ineligible. Exporters should also note that imported beef and beef products that have not been further processed in the United States may not be re-exported to St. Lucia. More details are available in the FSIS Export Library.
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