The National Cattlemen's Beef Association made it clear beef is as safe today as it was before USDA decision to ban import of animals and animal products from Europe.

The reason: The United States hasn't imported from the areas recently struck with foot-and-mouth disease in years.

"This action does not affect the beef industry because the U.S. has not imported any beef from the United Kingdom since 1985," the trade association wrote in a release Wednesday. "Import of ruminant animals and ruminant products from the UK and other countries with BSE was banned in 1989 and import of live ruminant animals and animal products from all European countries was banned in 1997."

Even though the beef industry is, for the most part, unaffected, NCBA "strongly supports USDA's action" because of its impact on other parts of the U.S. food supply.

"Foot-and-mouth disease is not a human health threat, but is a significant threat to the economic health of the cattle, hog and sheep industry in any country where it appears," NCBA released. "Consumers can be assured that U.S. beef is safe and that actions, like USDA's prohibition, will aid in keeping it protected.

"The National Cattlemen's Beef Association supports a science-based regulatory and inspection system and is confident that the measures being taken by the government to protect the food supply are prudent. NCBA sympathizes with the financial and emotional stress in the European agriculture community."

NCBA