Kansas cattlemen discuss BSE with USDA
Kansas Cattlemen's Association recently contacted U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and addressed the recent confirmation of a bovine spongiform encephalopathy-positive test from a cow in Brazil. KCA not only asked USDA to halt beef product imports from Brazil, but it also requested that USDA re-evaluate its import regulations from countries with foreign animal diseases.
"It is worrisome that even after the World Organization for Animal Health confirmed that a sample from a Brazil cow, diagnosing for BSE, tested positive by immunohistochemical test, the Brazilian government denies any report of BSE in the country. Although the animal did not die of the disease, it does not take away from the significance of the matter and the lack of responsibility the Brazilian government is taking to create a safe food supply, stated KCA Executive Director Brandy Carter.
The cow in question died in 2010, and BSE testing results were not completed until 2012. According to KCA, two years to detect a disease that could be deadly to a nation's cattle herd is simply unacceptable.
The United States does import beef products from Brazil, and the KCA believes that U.S. consumers deserve to know that the food supply is safe. In 2011, the U.S. imported 23 million pounds of beef and veal products from Brazil, and beef imports from the country continue today. KCA contends that Brazil's actions and lack of accountability warrant a complete halt in all beef product imports to the United States. KCA respectfully requested that swift actions be taken. KCA also expressed its hope that the USDA will further address this matter and thoroughly review its regulations regarding beef, beef products, and cattle imports from countries that are not proven to be disease free.
"Foreign animal diseases have a direct impact on the U.S. economy and U.S. consumers' confidence. Kansas Cattlemen's Association takes these matters very seriously and is optimistic that USDA does as well," Carter concluded.
Japan, the largest importer of beef in Asia, has already suspended all beef imports from Brazil.