Canadian Border Should be Closed Until BSE Problem Resolved
WASHINGTON (January 23, 2006) - National Farmers Union President, Dave Frederickson made the following statement in regard to Canada’s confirmation that it has another case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE):
"I am deeply concerned by today’s announcement of yet another case of BSE in Canada. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns should suspend all imports of Canadian cattle and beef products immediately, until we can be assured that Canada has its problem under control.
"This is the fifth case of BSE discovered in Canada cattle. Last year, in a rush to judgment, the USDA re-opened the U.S. border to Canadian cattle. Today’s development proves that they acted in haste, and that Canada still has problems with this disease.
"At a time when Canada is discovering additional BSE cases, reports are being made that meat inspections within Canadian plants do not meet U.S. standards and America’s consumers have been denied the right to know where their food comes from via the mandatory country-of-origin labeling law, we expect USDA to put the interest of U.S. cattle producers and consumers first and immediately close the border to Canadian cattle and beef products."
For release: Jan. 23, 2006
Labeling, increased scrutiny would help beef markets, Enzi says
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., commented recently on the country’s agriculture policies regarding cattle imports and exports following the recent closure of Japan’s borders to American beef and a Canadian cow that tested positive for BSE.
"The recent discovery of an additional cow with BSE in Canada should raise all of our alert levels regarding any imports of Canadian cattle or beef products from cattle over 30 months of age. The discovery also raises concerns about the effectiveness of the feed ban in Canada as the cow was reportedly born after Canada’s feed ban was implemented.
"I was not supportive of opening the border to Canadian cattle following the first discovery of a BSE case in Canada. In fact, I introduced a bill that would have required country of origin labeling to be implemented before opening the Canadian border. Time has passed and now both beef products from cattle under 30 months of age and live cattle under 30 months of age are crossing the Canadian border into the U.S., but my conviction regarding the need for country of origin is unchanged. Consumers should be able to make informed decisions regarding the country of origin of their meat.
"In addition to labeling our meat, we need to stabilize and expand our export markets, by making sure that what we import into our own supply system is safe and that we honor the details of our own trade agreements. American producers and consumers were just beginning to see the fruit of renewed exports to Japan when someone didn’t do their job. That has put American cattle producers on the hook for potentially millions of dollars in lost revenue. I am glad to see that the United States Department of Agriculture has responded with an added intensity and scrutiny by ramping up inspections. There is too much at stake to say ‘whoops’ and shrug it off."