In cooperation with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, USMEF recently hosted a workshop in Cairo, Egypt, on the science surrounding hormonal growth promotants (HGPs) in beef cattle and the international standard-setting process regarding HGPs. Support for the workshop was provided through the USDA Market Access Program (MAP).
The event was attended by 20 Egyptian government officials and academics, with opening remarks from Dr. Hassan Abdel Maguid, chairman of the Egyptian Organization for Standardization and Quality, and U.S. Agricultural Counselor Ron Verdonk. Thad Lively, USMEF senior vice president for trade access, introduced the speakers and moderated the discussion.
The workshop was built around the following presentations by internationally-recognized experts:
Dr. Travis Arp, USMEF technical services manager, then reviewed the studies commissioned by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that led to its 2007 opinion concerning the use of HGPs in beef production. Dr. Johnson followed with a more detailed examination of three of these studies, which suggested a link between the use of HGPs and the incidence of cancer in humans.
The second day of the workshop featured a three-hour roundtable discussion in which all participants were encouraged to ask questions and exchange ideas freely. The roundtable also served as a venue in which possible next steps for the Egyptian government were identified and discussed.
“The Cairo workshop exceeded my expectations,” Lively said. “There was excellent representation from several Egyptian government agencies, as well as universities and research institutes.”
Lively also thanked the technical experts who gave presentations for making the workshop a success.
“The content provided was outstanding,” he said. “All of the speakers, as well as the roundtable discussion, stayed focused on the science. This made for a constructive dialogue and exchange of technical information and perspectives. Our main objective for the workshop was to make the Egyptian regulators and members of the scientific community aware of the resources available to them, so they can base their import standards on science, and we made good progress toward that goal.”
Egypt is the leading destination for U.S. beef variety meat, with exports last year totaling 122,113 metric tons valued at $145 million. On a volume basis, these exports represented 36 percent of the worldwide total for U.S. beef variety meat.
Through the first quarter of 2015, beef variety meat exports to Egypt totaled 21,597 metric tons valued at $34.2 million.
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