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NCBA presses Johanns to act on Canada, Japan, other issues

by Pete Hisey on 4/15/2005 for Meatingplace.com

In a letter sent to Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns yesterday, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association said that USDA is moving too slowly on several issues and urged Johanns to take action as quickly as possible. The seven issues NCBA identified include guidelines for announcing test results in suspected cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, scaling back the number of cattle tested in the BSE surveillance program, denying the USDA stamp for imported meat products, and protection for producers' data in any potential national animal identification program.

NCBA also wants Johanns to make reopening the Japanese market his top priority, and asked for a report on what the USDA has done with the OIE in gaining a "provisionally free" designation concerning BSE risk in the U.S.

"In light of the current conditions within the international marketplace and the clear direction provided to us through our member-developed policy, we can't wait anymore for these issues to be resolved," said Jim McAdams, NCBA president.
I don't quite understand the need for protection of producer's data?

Is it protection from the IRS? Are they worried about discrimination for low quality fats? Is the average cattlemen not proud of his product?
What's the deal?
Mike, my understanding, and I freely admit I haven't heard all others views on this, is that producers' information should be proprietary with the exception of what is necessary for government entities to use for food & animal health and safety. Anything else, in my opinion, might be related to numbers of calves/feeders available at a given time, feed conversion, cut out, or other information that could add value to our cattle. I do not believe it is in our best interest if all such info is out for the world to see without our knowledge or permission. The very fact of source verification is value added which we should be paid for, IMO.


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