NFU to USDA: Don’t Expand Canadian Border

WASHINGTON – National Farmers Union submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) expressing the organization’s strong opposition to the Department’s proposed rule to expand beef and cattle trade with Canada.
calendar icon 13 March 2007
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“NFU calls upon the Department to withdraw its proposal. USDA should be protecting the future of the U.S. cattle industry and the confidence of American consumers – not jeopardize our volatile international export market relationships,” NFU President Buis said.

In early January, USDA proposed to expand the list of allowable Canadian live cattle imports born after March 1, 1999 into the United States; the rule would also allow importation of beef from animals of any age. Thirty days after USDA published its proposal, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed its ninth BSE-positive case. The infected animal’s age is well beyond the proposed age limit in USDA’s rule – animals born since March 1, 1999.

“Transferring Canada’s BSE problem to the United States will not make their BSE problem go away and only further jeopardizes our own industry and export markets,” Buis said. Before the border is expanded, we need reassurance from USDA that additional BSE discoveries in Canadian cattle will not threaten the fragile relationships with our other trading partners.

NFU also pressed USDA to immediately implement mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) and give consumers the choice to buy American beef. The organization said COOL provides necessary information to consumers to make informed decisions about the food they purchase.

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