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Japan....I'll believe it when I see it.

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Mike

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Limited U.S. Product To Be Available For Japan Beef Market



KANSAS CITY (Dow Jones)--When Japan reopens its beef markets to U.S. product, only about 15% of total U.S. cattle slaughter will be eligible for export, said Lynn Heinze, public relations officer for the U.S. Meat Export Federation in Denver.



Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated total cattle and calf slaughter at 615,000 head. 15% of this would be 92,250 head.



The Japanese market was closed in December 2003 after the U.S. found its first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease, in an imported cow. Since then, one domestic cow has turned up with the disease.



Within months of the closure, Japan was insisting the U.S. test every slaughtered animal for BSE to mimic the Japanese tactic against the disease, which was taken after BSE turned up there.



Testing all slaughtered cattle for BSE was a reasonable reaction for Japan to finding BSE without any other form of safeguards, Heinze said. But now that Japan has a full range of safeguards in place, it is time to move on to match standards with world-wide practices, he said.



Eligible cattle must be documented through USDA Agricultural Marketing Service programs to be younger than 20 months of age either through a Bovine Export Verification program or through what is known as an A40 process, Heinze said. The A40 process is a system of judging maturation characteristics of the carcass and usually identifies cattle that are about 17 months of age or younger, he said.



Once the Japanese market reopens the number of eligible cattle will grow "fairly rapidly," Heinze said. More producers and packers will respond to the extra demand and begin to comply with programs that verify age for the export market, he said.



In the near term, the challenge for Japanese beef importers and U.S. exporters will be to recharge the infrastructure with product so retailers and foodservice buyers there will have it available, Heinze said.



Sales probably haven't begun yet, Heinze said, because "there will be a first-manufacture date," which will be after the Japanese Food Safety Commission confirms U.S. beef's safety to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, which, in turn, must write and release the rules of what may be imported from the U.S., Heinze said. Nothing will be allowed to be imported that was produced before the day the MHLW rules are published.



"If they announce that we can resume shipping, then the agreement is for beef from animals killed from that moment on," said a USDA official who asked not to be named. "Only that beef is eligible to be shipped,"



Gary Mickelson, director of media relations for Tyson Foods, said in an e-mailed response to questions that inquiries had been made to company sales staff but that no sales had been finalized yet.



Once the market is opened, beef export verification programs are ready to begin the process of confirming that products meet the qualifications for export to Japan, the USDA official said.



"Everything is absolutely worked out - all the details, everything. As of this moment we're ready (to begin shipping beef to Japan)," the USDA official said.



The official said there are "quite a few" companies qualified for BEV and those audits will begin immediately when Japan lifts its ban.



There is speculation within the beef industry that once the Japanese market is open and more comfortable with U.S. beef products from younger animals that the U.S. will begin pestering the Japanese to allow products from cattle that are 30 months of age or younger.



That age conforms to worldwide standards for beef safety from BSE, trade sources said. It also makes many more U.S. cattle eligible for export to Japan.



But in the meantime, the USMEF is working to find other ways of increasing Japanese import demand for U.S. beef products, Heinze said. For instance, the U.S. market to Japan typically falls on about 12 products, and the USMEF has identified 17 more cuts that would fit with their tastes and dishes, giving them more products to purchase and U.S. exporters more ways to utilize a greater percentage of the carcass.



Source: Lester Aldrich; Dow Jones Newswires; 913-322-5179; [email protected]
 

mrj

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Mike said:
Limited U.S. Product To Be Available For Japan Beef Market



KANSAS CITY (Dow Jones)--When Japan reopens its beef markets to U.S. product, only about 15% of total U.S. cattle slaughter will be eligible for export, said Lynn Heinze, public relations officer for the U.S. Meat Export Federation in Denver.



Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated total cattle and calf slaughter at 615,000 head. 15% of this would be 92,250 head.



The Japanese market was closed in December 2003 after the U.S. found its first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease, in an imported cow. Since then, one domestic cow has turned up with the disease.



Within months of the closure, Japan was insisting the U.S. test every slaughtered animal for BSE to mimic the Japanese tactic against the disease, which was taken after BSE turned up there.



Testing all slaughtered cattle for BSE was a reasonable reaction for Japan to finding BSE without any other form of safeguards, Heinze said. But now that Japan has a full range of safeguards in place, it is time to move on to match standards with world-wide practices, he said.



Eligible cattle must be documented through USDA Agricultural Marketing Service programs to be younger than 20 months of age either through a Bovine Export Verification program or through what is known as an A40 process, Heinze said. The A40 process is a system of judging maturation characteristics of the carcass and usually identifies cattle that are about 17 months of age or younger, he said.



Once the Japanese market reopens the number of eligible cattle will grow "fairly rapidly," Heinze said. More producers and packers will respond to the extra demand and begin to comply with programs that verify age for the export market, he said.



In the near term, the challenge for Japanese beef importers and U.S. exporters will be to recharge the infrastructure with product so retailers and foodservice buyers there will have it available, Heinze said.



Sales probably haven't begun yet, Heinze said, because "there will be a first-manufacture date," which will be after the Japanese Food Safety Commission confirms U.S. beef's safety to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, which, in turn, must write and release the rules of what may be imported from the U.S., Heinze said. Nothing will be allowed to be imported that was produced before the day the MHLW rules are published.



"If they announce that we can resume shipping, then the agreement is for beef from animals killed from that moment on," said a USDA official who asked not to be named. "Only that beef is eligible to be shipped,"



Gary Mickelson, director of media relations for Tyson Foods, said in an e-mailed response to questions that inquiries had been made to company sales staff but that no sales had been finalized yet.



Once the market is opened, beef export verification programs are ready to begin the process of confirming that products meet the qualifications for export to Japan, the USDA official said.



"Everything is absolutely worked out - all the details, everything. As of this moment we're ready (to begin shipping beef to Japan)," the USDA official said.



The official said there are "quite a few" companies qualified for BEV and those audits will begin immediately when Japan lifts its ban.



There is speculation within the beef industry that once the Japanese market is open and more comfortable with U.S. beef products from younger animals that the U.S. will begin pestering the Japanese to allow products from cattle that are 30 months of age or younger.



That age conforms to worldwide standards for beef safety from BSE, trade sources said. It also makes many more U.S. cattle eligible for export to Japan.



But in the meantime, the USMEF is working to find other ways of increasing Japanese import demand for U.S. beef products, Heinze said. For instance, the U.S. market to Japan typically falls on about 12 products, and the USMEF has identified 17 more cuts that would fit with their tastes and dishes, giving them more products to purchase and U.S. exporters more ways to utilize a greater percentage of the carcass.



Source: Lester Aldrich; Dow Jones Newswires; 913-322-5179; [email protected]


That's what most producers probably are thinking.....and saying......while those who generally seek out and act upon opportunities to advance their business are quietyly preparing and will be ready to jump into that lucrative market the minute the opportunity is there!

And how many of the "critics" will find ways to blame them for it?

MRJ
 

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