JAPANESE BAN ON AMERICAN BEEF COULD AFFECT ALABAMA PRODUCERS
MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- The most recent Japanese ban on American beef could put Alabama beef producers in a bind, along with the rest of the country's producers.
This ban came after officials determined an American shipment of beef might have contained material at risk for BSE, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease in cattle.
The ban comes just a little over a month after the two-year ban of American beef to Japan had been lifted.
"As a whole, the beef industry is put back in the situation where we don't have the major Japanese market to ship to," said Perry Mobley, the beef division director for the Alabama Farmers Federation. "If we don't get that market reopened, we'll have to figure out what to do with the extra beef.
"The effect the ban will have on consumers is not yet established," Mobley said.
Regarding the recent BSE detection in Canada, Mobley feels confident that consumer safety will not be compromised.
"The cow that was determined to have BSE in Alberta did not enter the human food or animal feed system," said Mobley.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns did not issue a change in the status of beef or cattle imports from Canada. Mobley believes Johanns will be pressured about this decision.
"Canada doesn't yet have a handle on its feed ban," Mobley said. "We need to be cognizant of that fact, and we shouldn't be accepting any replacement stock from Alberta, which is Canada's number one cattle province."