Ever hear the saying, "you can't get too much of a good thing?" You'd be hard pressed to prove that to livestock producers these days... After years of brisk sales of chicken, pork and beef, thanks in part, to the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets, the meat industry is facing a glut of protein. According to the Livestock Marketing Information Center, wholesale prices for pork and beef are down more than 8 percent from last year, and chicken prices are off more than 20 percent. Hoping that increased exports will shore up sagging prices, the Agriculture Department is trying to convince Japan to re-open its borders to U.S. beef.
U.S. officials were in Asia this week to establish a protocol for the resumption of U.S. beef sales to Japan and China.
In Japan, the Agriculture Minister said Tuesday that before starting talks to reopen its borders to U.S. beef products, his country wants to review the results of a survey of the U.S. meatpacking industry. The country wants answers to its questions about the 37 meatpacking plants authorized to ship to Japan and the Agriculture Minister told reporters, "We only received an overview but there are things we want to confirm."
Meanwhile, Japan did confirm the state of its own beef industry. The country this week, announced its 26th case of mad cow.
Beef was a topic in China this week as well. A U.S. delegation met with Chinese officials to discuss resumption of U.S. beef imports and among other things, USDA said, "We also developed a memorandum of cooperation that provides a basis for addressing food safety issues on an ongoing basis."
The discussions in Beijing followed a meeting in Washington last month where China agreed to reopen its market to U.S. beef before June 30.