Brucellosis outbreak in Idaho
by Pete Hisey on 1/2/2006 for Meatingplace.com
Brucellosis has been detected in two herds of Idaho cattle, according to the International Society for Infectious Diseases. The disease can result in spontaneous abortions, infertility and decreased milk output in cattle, and can infect humans in close proximity to cattle. Canadian officials said that they were monitoring the situation, and are allowing cattle from Idaho into the country only if they are sent immediately to slaughter. USDA is investigating the outbreaks and may change Idaho’s brucellosis-free status.
South Korea, U.S. may hold beef talks
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea and the United States may hold talks as early as next week on resuming imports of U.S. beef, a South Korean Agriculture and Forestry Ministry official said Monday.
South Korean officials have been in discussions with the U.S. on holding the talks either Jan. 9-10 or Jan. 12-13 but nothing has been set yet, a ministry official told The Associated Press, requesting anonymity because the details have not been worked out.
The U.S. Embassy in Seoul was closed Monday for the holiday.
South Korea banned U.S. beef imports in December 2003 after a Holstein cow in Washington state tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease. South Korea has so far rebuffed repeated U.S. requests to end the ban, citing health and safety concerns.
Last month, a ministry advisory committee said that U.S. beef could be considered safe to consume if tougher inspection and quarantine measures were taken. The committee also said there were no decisive grounds to say U.S. beef wasn’t safe.
Japan, which had a similar ban, eased its prohibition on U.S. and Canadian beef last month after two years of negotiations and a lengthy approval process.
Australia and New Zealand are currently the leading beef exporters to South Korea.
Scientists believe mad cow disease is spread when farmers feed cattle with recycled meat and bones from infected animals. It is thought to cause the fatal human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Cattlemen WTO Talks Report:
From NCBA, Cattlemen’s Capitol Concerns
NCBA Chief Economist Gregg Doud is back in Washington D.C. this week after the international World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations in Hong Kong. Doud reports: “It is quite clear from Hong Kong that trying to reach an agreement between 150 nations that actually meets U.S. cattle producers’ expectations will take a very long time. But it’s still imperative that we continue to push for better market access and reduced tariffs globally via these trade talks, no matter how long the process takes.”
Right now, the average global tariff on exported beef and beef products is at 85 percent. For U.S. beef to increase export market opportunities, such market access barriers must be lowered. “Clearly the most disappointing aspect of the Ministerial was the complete lack of any discussions on market access.” NCBA says some EU negotiators “seem to be clinging to an old-school mentality that supports high tariffs and barriers to entry.” Currently, the European Union’s (EU) bound tariff on beef imports is at 57 percent.
NCBA believes the U.S. effort in Hong Kong was a success in that the talks were not an utter failure. “We actually got an agreement out of Hong Kong, albeit an agreement that is really only in principle another agreement to keep talking,” says Doud. For more information on the U.S. Proposal for WTO Agriculture Negotiations, which NCBA supports, go to www.ustr.gov.