Following a statement from Iowa Cattlemen’s Association president Ed Greiman saying that the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s decision to allow beef from Argentina is a cause of concern for beef producers in the U.S., the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association has also stated its opposition to the regulatory amendment.
The proposed amendment to regulations will allow imports of fresh, chilled or frozen beef from northern Argentina, specifically from the Patagonia region of the country, according to a news release.
U.S. Cattlemen’s Association president Jon Wooster issued the following statement in a news release:
"This plan to approve certain regions of Argentina for importation of fresh beef into the U.S. is full of risk and it's short on science and transparency. It is deeply troubling. At risk is the health and safety of the U.S. cattle herd, which USDA-APHIS is tasked with protecting, because of the clear danger of importing Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). Risk mitigation has been the single most effective tool in keeping Foot and Mouth Disease out of the U.S. for decades. U.S. livestock producers have not indicated any willingness to lower risk mitigation methods and standards nor have they indicated any willingness to accept increased risks of FMD."
Wooster recalls the history of the disease in South America, saying “The history of FMD in South America is evident as is the collective inability of South American nations to eradicate FMD due to the endemic nature of the disease.”
“According to a study funded by the Pork Checkoff, the estimated lost revenue to the pork and beef industries resulting from the introduction of FMD in the U.S. would average $12.9 billion per year and modeled over a 10 year period showed cumulative revenue losses of $199 billion, including $71.23 billion for beef and $57 billion for pork. Losses associated with an introduction of FMD in the U.S. would be catastrophic for the domestic livestock industry, threaten the U.S. economy and the world's protein supply, and would compromise our national food security,” Wooster said in the release.
He said that the U.S. needs a Foot and Mouth Disease disaster plan that would insure parts of the livestock sector that would be affected by the disease before considering Argentinian beef imports.
"We call on USDA-APHIS to withdraw this and any similar rules immediately," Wooster said in the release.