Drovers Radio Drovers Radio: Israel open to U.S. beef for first time since 2003 By USMEF January 18, 2016 | 2:15 pm EST Comments 1 Print Your browser does not support the audio element. Israel has reopened to U.S. beef for the first time since December 2003. Israel was one of many countries to suspend imports of U.S. beef following confirmation of the first BSE case in the United States, and is one of the last to lift its BSE-related restrictions. The reopening became effective Jan. 13. Although Israel imposes very strict kosher slaughter and handling requirements on its beef suppliers, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Philip Seng says there could be opportunities in the market for some U.S. companies. He also notes the significance of yet another BSE-related market closure coming to an end. Currently, Argentina and Uruguay are Israel’s largest beef suppliers, followed by Brazil and Paraguay. Israel also imports small volumes from Australia and the European Union. On Friday, Jan. 15, South Africa also reopened to U.S. beef for the first time since 2003. USMEF is still examining the terms of this reopening.