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Mexico's Block on U.S. Meat Plants May Not Last Long

Published on: 09:09AM Dec 29, 2008
By Jim Wiesemeyer

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

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U.S. gov't officials deny Mexican action is reaction to COOL law


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


Mexico's agriculture ministry on Friday announced it could soon resume imports from 30 U.S. meat plants in 14 states temporarily suspended because they did not meet sanitary regulations.

Ag ministry spokesman Marco Antonio Sifuentes on Friday said the plants in question fell short on standards like packaging, labeling and some transport conditions.

“If everything goes well, the plants cold be re-listed... Monday (Dec. 29),” the ministry said in a statement.

A spokesman for the U.S. Meat Export Federation said that many companies impacted by the Mexican action already have submitted paperwork to be recertified to import to Mexico.

U.S. government officials have dismissed conjecture that Mexico suspended the U.S. meat imports in retaliation for the U.S. putting country-of-origin labels (COOL) on meat because of food safety fears. The Mexico meat import suspension started last Wednesday, about a week after the Mexican government filed a complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO) about the new U.S. labeling law.

Mexico and Canadian trade officials and other U.S. trade partners are concerned that the COOL policy will encourage American consumers to favor U.S.-raised meat.

Facts and figures. Last year, Mexico sold more than 870,000 head of live cattle to the U.S. to be partly raised and then processed into meat. The country's sales of live cattle to the U.S. this year are considerably below the 2007 level, with some officials in the Mexican government saying COOL could be partly to blame.


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


 

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