IMI Global Receives Non-Hormone Approval For EU Export

UNITED STATES - Integrated Management Information, Inc. a leading provider of verification and Internet solutions for the agricultural/livestock industry, today announced it has received USDA approval of its Non-Hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC) umbrella program that allows beef from U.S. cattle to qualify for export to the European Union.
calendar icon 13 December 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

IMI Global's Process Verified Program (PVP) offers beef producers an easy, cost effective way to comply with E.U. export requirements and re-enter the lucrative E.U. market, which has been essentially closed to most American beef since 1989 when the E.U. instituted restrictions on hormone treated cattle. E.U. market demand was subsequently filled by South American beef suppliers, which in 2005 accounted for 90% of the E.U.'s 264,300 tons of imported fresh, frozen and chilled beef. Brazil was the leading supplier with 60% of the total and Argentina was second with a 23% share.

"USDA approval of IMI Global represents an important new enhancement to our verification product portfolio," said Leann Saunders, executive vice president of quality services with IMI Global. "Our newly approved umbrella program for NHTC offers producers direct access to a rapidly growing, value- added market for their cattle in the E.U. It also provides packers with additional opportunity to optimize carcass utilization. Initial customer response to our program has been positive, and we believe this approval will help our customers open new markets and build new revenue streams while also helping IMI Global build value for its shareholders."

Phil Seng, president and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, said, "We have made significant progress in gaining greater access for U.S. beef to the European market. Programs like this will help meet market demands as well as provide greater value to the US beef industry."

In addition to placing stringent requirements on cattle ranchers and feed yards that hope to export cattle, the E.U. has a comprehensive set of eligibility criteria that apply to U.S. meat packing facilities. To date only four U.S. meat packers have received NHTC approval. One of them is Creekstone Farms. John Stewart, founder of Creekstone Farms, said, "The E.U. has strict requirements on facility sanitation and product packaging that can only be met by the most modern facilities, like the one we have in Arkansas City. In addition to these sanitation and packaging requirements, an E.U. approved facility must comply with animal handling and water quality standards and all livestock is subject to testing for hormones."

Another major U.S. meat packer with NHTC approval is Tyson Foods, Inc., the nation's largest packer. The company's Lexington plant shipped NHTC beef to the E.U. in the 1990s and received renewed E.U. approval in 2005 to resume shipments. "We have great confidence in the quality and safety of all of our products and are anxious to resume our beef business in Europe," said Roel Andriessen, senior vice president-international for Tyson Foods. "While our Lexington, Nebraska, plant has approval to export to Europe, we need a steady supply of E.U. qualified cattle to resume shipments. We're hopeful some producers in the Lexington region will take advantage of this opportunity by raising cattle that meet the required specifications."

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