Japan has announced that after recent audits of U.S. meat plants that it will eliminate the 100% re-inspection of U.S. beef and beef products and will switch to a sampling-based protocol. In addition Malaysia has agreed to import U.S. beef permitting bone-in beef and variety meets from cattle of all ages.
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, commenting in a press statement, says the recent developments "are demonstrating that our constructive and steady discussions with our trading partners are showing positive results for future U.S. beef exports."
While Japan is changing its inspection rules, work continues to get Korea to resume imports of U.S. boneless beef and Johanns says his agency continues to press the country further. Johanns is aiming to get Korea to implement import requirements for U.S. beef and beef products consistent with World Organization of Animal Health guidelines on bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
"Science provides us with clear data upon which international trading standards were built. All of our trading partners must be mindful of these guidelines and work toward complying with them," Johanns says. "We are pressing for clear, aggressive timelines from our trading partners that demonstrate their commitment to internationally agreed upon standards."