Thursday, March 17, 2005

Mad cow disease and Canadian beef imports

The Farm Policy weblog links to an NPR report about the controversy over reopening the Canadian border to beef imports, which had been stopped because of concern about mad cow disease. Some U.S. cattle producers oppose the reopening and have sued to stop it. In part, these producers may be seeking to protect American consumers. In part, they may be trying to protect themselves from competition with Canadian imports. And in part, they may be responding to a complex calculation about the trade implications simultaneously of Canadian-U.S. beef trade and U.S. beef exports to Japan, which has halted U.S. beef imports for a time, also because of concerns about mad cow disease. In case you believe U.S. policy-makers have the situation under control, the recent General Accounting Office report on enforcement of the firewall feed ban -- an important part of preventing the spread of this disease -- should cure you of your complacency. GAO says FDA has been misleading Congress about the effectiveness of this feed ban. See also this Reuters article (thanks to the Center for Media and Democracy).

1 comment:

Sarpy Sam said...

As for the calculation on Japan trade, have you seen this? It seems like our actions as beef producers have inspired Japan's consumer groups to fight opening thier borders to US meat. So we are paying the price for our actions (I am a member of R-Calf).