Hong Kong to allow beef imports from cattle up to 30 months of age
Jun 18 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Hong Kong and the United States have reached an agreement to fully reopen Hong Kong’s borders to U.S. beef and beef products. The policy change comes 11 years after American beef was banned in Hong Kong amidst concerns about a positive case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) detected in the United States – a chronic degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of cattle. The new standard makes Hong Kong consistent with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines and will allow beef imports from U.S. cattle up to 30 months of age.
“American farmers and ranchers produce the highest quality agricultural products in the world,” Sen. Moran said. “Hong Kong’s new guidelines are a step in the right direction in regard to internationally-accepted, science-based trading standards. The guidelines will create more jobs and revenue in Kansas and our country, while providing foreign customers affordable access to our products.”
Prior to this agreement, only deboned beef from all cattle and certain bone-in beef from cattle less than 30 months of age could be shipped from the United States to Hong Kong. Earlier this year, Mexico, Uruguay, Ecuador and Sri Lanka also lifted their longstanding restrictions to provide full access for U.S. beef and beef products.
Hong Kong is currently the fourth largest market for U.S. beef and beef product exports, reaching historically high sales in 2013 with $823 million in import purchases of U.S. beef. In the first four months of 2014, U.S. beef and beef product exports to Hong Kong topped $307 million.
Experts in the United States and countries around the world have confirmed that U.S. beef is safe, with extremely low risk of BSE. There has never been a recorded case of BSE transmission to a human through American beef.
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