News Update
April 11, 2005

Taiwan Officially Reopens Market

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials announced April 7 that Taiwan will officially lift its 15-month ban on U.S. boneless beef from animals less than 30 months of age beginning April 16. The announcement follows news of tentative plans released late March. As a result of the action, Taiwan’s markets will be open to more than 90% of U.S. ruminants and ruminant products.

“This action demonstrates Taiwan’s commitment to trade in beef and beef products based on internationally accepted scientific standards for human and animal health,” Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said in an agency release. “Our goal is the resumption of normal beef trade throughout the world, and we are working tirelessly to that end.”

The United States exported more than $76 million in beef to the country in 2003. According to a U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) news release, a survey conducted in late February found that 56% of Taiwanese consumers said they were confident in the safety of U.S. beef, up 11% from the previous year. A separate USMEF survey conducted at one of the country’s main food shows found that 74% of Taiwan’s consumers said they will, or are likely to, buy and eat U.S. beef after the import ban is lifted.

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State Senate Endorses Origin Labeling

The Montana Senate tentatively endorsed, by a 40-10 vote, a statewide requirement that all meat and other food products sold in the state contain information about where the products were produced, reported. The country-of-origin labeling (sometimes referred to as COOL or COL) law, which has already passed the Montana House of Representatives, would take effect Oct. 1, 2006.

According to the report, opponents of the bill argue that it will attract a lawsuit from the federal government since it conflicts with present federal standards. However, proponents suggest that identical federal regulations should be in place by the active date.

Forum on Canadian Trade Scheduled

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) will host a 60-minute, live satellite forum on RFD-TV at 10-11 p.m. EST, Thursday, April 21. The forum is meant to update cattlemen on recent NCBA actions and international trade developments, including trade with Canada, a release stated.

NCBA President Jim McAdams, International Markets Committee Chairman Jamie Willrett and Executive Director of Regulatory Affairs Gary Weber will compose the panel discussing trade with Canada and other nations. NCBA plans to share information and take questions and comments from viewers.

The live forum may be viewed on DISH Network satellite channel 9409 or DirecTV satellite channel 379. Check local listings for MediaCom and NCTC cable systems. Program repeats are scheduled to air on RFD-TV Friday, April 22, at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. EST, as well as Sunday, April 24, at 6 p.m. EST.

Texas to Implement Random TB Testing

Texas livestock health officials will randomly select approximately 2,000 purebred or seedstock herds for cattle tuberculosis (TB) testing this summer, according to the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC). Health officials are attempting to fulfill disease surveillance obligation of the Texas Cattle TB plan, which calls for TB testing all of the state’s dairies and about 2,400 seedstock beef herds in an effort to regain TB-free status and avoid interstate movement restrictions. Although testing on dairy herds has been completed, only approximately 500 purebred or seedstock herd owners have volunteered for herd tests. Federal funds for herd testing will be exhausted by Oct. 1, so the commission will implement random herd selection.

“Random selection of herds was seen as the most equitable way to complete a statistically valid disease surveillance of purebred and seedstock cattle herds,” said Bob Hillman, Texas’ state veterinarian and TAHC executive director. “By mid-April, a computer program will pick names from a database. … We then will contact the ranchers to line up the test that will be conducted by private veterinarians at no cost to the herd owner.”

To volunteer a herd for test, locate a contract veterinarian or obtain information, contact a TAHC area office or the organization’s headquarters at 1-800-550-8242.

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