BSE Case Limits Trade in Two Countries
The BSE infected cow discovered last week has not impacted beef export markets the same way that previous outbreaks have. The infected cow never entered the food supply and this fact is keeping U.S. beef on supermarket shelves in Japan, South Korea and every other export market, save two.
Indonesia and Thailand have closed their borders to U.S. beef in response to the outbreak. The U.S. Meat Export Federation says the bans are politically motivated and sites Indonesia’s efforts to bolster their domestic beef production as one reason for the ban.
“While the announcement by Indonesia is disappointing, it is important to view it in the context of recent events. Indonesia has been engaged in a very aggressive policy initiative to bolster its domestic beef production, drastically reducing the flow of imported beef into the country in 2012 – not only from the United States, but from all of its major beef suppliers,” the organization said.
2012 U.S. beef exports to Indonesia were down 84% before the BSE news. Beef from Indonesia’s primary suppliers, (Australia and New Zealand) were down 27 and 59% respectively. Because U.S. exports to Thailand were already limited to boneless beef from cattle under 30 months of age, this appears to be a complete suspension of beef trade. USMEF and the U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk are working to reopen the two closed markets.
USDA said Friday that infected cow in question was 10 years and 7 months old and came from a dairy farm in Tulare County, Calif. The animal was humanely euthanized after it developed lameness and was unable to walk.