April 13, 2004,
just-food.com: Beef producers in Australia
and New Zealand look to be the big winners in the continuing
stand off between Japan and the U.S. over BSE concerns.
Japan, which has banned the importation of U.S. beef
since a case of mad cow disease was discovered there
in December, must look to other sources to fill the
widening gap in supply.
The two largest meat processors in Japan, Nippon Meat
Packers and Itoham Foods, are both reported by the Nihon
Keizai Shimbun to have unveiled plans to boost imports
from New Zealand and Australia to cover the shortfall.
Both companies are major importers of beef, with a good
share of their inventory coming from the US in recent
years. In fiscal 2003, for example, 100,000 tons of
the 200,000t of beef handled by Nippon came from the
US, with 70,000t emanating from Australia.
Nippon will boost the head of cattle raised at affiliated
branches in Australia by 20% to 85,000, the paper reported.
Itoham will reduce the fattening time for cattle raised
in Australia and New Zealand from eight months to four
to five months.
The news of alternative beef sourcing comes amidst
an announcement from the U.S. that it will not allow
private companies to test 100 percent of their cattle
for BSE. The proposal would have satisfied Japan’s
demands and allowed for limited entrance of U.S. beef.
Japan has said it will not resume imports of US beef
until the US introduces 100% testing of cattle.