Saturday, May 5, 2012

Indonesia bans US beef imports due to mad cow disease in dairy herd


INDONESIA has banned US beef imports because of mad cow disease in one American dairy cow and will not lift the ban until it is assured that the disease has been wiped out, said vice agriculture minister Rusman Heriawan.

"We will lift the ban as soon as the US can assure us its dairy cows are free of mad cow disease. It could be one month or one year. It depends on how long it takes to resolve this case," he told a press briefing.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk told The Associated Press: "There is no reason to be concerned about the consumption of US beef. We would expect that Indonesia would quickly reopen its market. It [banning] must be done in the context of standards established by the World Health Organization."

The latest US case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was discovered in a dairy cow scheduled to be slaughtered at a rending plant, where the animal remains are not used as food.

Indonesia is a small market for US beef. In 2011, it purchased beef worth US$879,000. In the first two months of 2012, sales of US beef to Indonesia totaled just $21,000.

Said US Meat Export Federation president Philip Seng: "US beef is safe. We are reaching out to contacts around the world to reassure them that this finding is an indication that the system to safeguard the wholesomeness and safety of US beef is working."