With a few exceptions, our international trading partners have not overreacted to last-week’s discovery of an atypical case of BSE in a U.S. dairy cow. Speaking with AgriTalk Radio host Mike Adams on Monday, U.S. Meat Export Federation president and CEO Phil Seng said only one country – Indonesia – has officially blocked imports of U.S. beef. The government of Thailand, meanwhile, has publicly stated its intention to ban U.S. beef, but has not officially informed U.S. officials of such action.
In South Korea, Seng says, the market for U.S. beef remains open. The only action the government has taken is to increase inspections of imported beef from 3 percent to 50 percent. Demand for U.S. beef in Korea has dropped, however, as one major retailer has stopped stocking U.S. beef and others, while continuing to stock it, have stopped promoting it. A problem in South Korea is that the media is, up to this point, “doing their own investigation” of the issue, in the absence of an official statement from the Korean government or a final epidemiological report from the United States. Once that report becomes available, which Seng expects to occur soon, the Korean media will lose some of their ability to stir up emotional responses.