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Serving: United States
Beefs and Beliefs

Canadians Share in U.S. Trade Quota

BSE history appears low-priority but hormone-free remains a function of EU beef import system.

Looks like the Canadians are piggy-backing on the U.S. beef trade deal with the European Union.

Last week they announced the EU had approved their participation in the 20,000-ton quota created in 2009 as a result of compensation negotiations between the U.S. and the EU for the decade-old WTO Dispute Panel ruling that the EU ban on growth promotants was not scientifically justified.

The U.S. and Australia already have access to the quota. Canadian beef can now share the quota as well. Earlier this year a spokesman for the U.S. Meat Export Federation said he expects the agreement will go forward with a hike in the quote in 2012 to more than 45,000 tons.

Perhaps the interesting thing is the higher past incidence of BSE in Canada seems no longer to have any effect on public opinion in Europe.

Certainly such concerns have dropped here. A study this fall by the Beef Checkoff showed 34% of U.S. consumers remain extremely concerned about “mad cow disease,” the moniker for BSE best known by the public. Yet this is down quite a bit from the 50-55% who were extremely concerned about this issue in 2002 and 2003.

But even in Europe the panic over BSE and its apparent link with Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in humans has waned. See the four-part series of stories on the lingering effects of the BSE scare by Patricia Klintberg in the back issues of Beef Producer’s web exclusive section.

It remains a condition of access to the EU that beef must be produced from cattle raised without the use of growth promotants.

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