Great photo of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad slicing a Nebraska prime rib in a Beijing ceremony, formally marking the return of U.S. beef to the Chinese market after 13-years.
Perdue celebrated the reintroduction of American beef products to China after shipments were halted at the end of 2003 allegedly because of mad-cow disease but more likely because the U.S. was unsure about the health of imported Chinese chicken products. The deal is likely contingent on the Chinese ensuring their cooked-chicken facilities meet U.S. FDA standards.
NOTE: The focus is on cooked chicken imports because avian flu from raw Chinese poultry presents a huge risk to us if it enters the USA for processing. It could potentially contaminate American plants or somehow spread to birds here in the States. There are plans in hand for the poultry slaughter houses to meet American standards but they’re a few years away from completion. China’s poor record for food safety includes rat meat being sold as lamb, oil recovered from drainage ditches in gutters being sold as cooking oil, and baby formula contaminated with melamine that sickened hundreds of thousands of babies and killed six. In 2014, a Shanghai food-processing factory supplying international restaurant brands including McDonald’s and KFC was caught selling stale meat, repackaged with new expiration dates!
The return of U.S. beef and beef products is a part of the U.S.-China 100-Day Action Plan announced by the Trump Administration on May 11, 2017, with the first shipment of U.S. beef arriving in China on June 19, 2017.
“Beef is a big deal in China and I’m convinced that when the Chinese people get a taste of U.S. beef, they’re going to want more of it. These products coming into China are safe, wholesome, and very delicious. This is also a good harbinger of the kind of relationship that can be developed. We hope there are other things we can cooperate on and we’re going to use U.S. beef as the forerunner.”
China has emerged as a major beef buyer in recent years, with imports increasing from $275 million in 2012 to $2.5 billion in 2016. The United States is the world’s largest beef producer and in 2016 was the world’s fourth-largest exporter, with global sales of more than $5.4 billion.
Earlier in June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the final details of a protocol to allow American companies to begin shipping beef exports to China. To date, producers and processors in Nebraska and Kansas are eligible to ship beef products to China, having followed the requirements set forth in the USDA Export Verification Program and according to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service export requirements.
USDA maintains a public list of companies that are eligible, and will continue to update it as more companies complete the export documentation requirements.
Question for the markets: Will our beef prices now go up or can the market adjust quickly?
Question for States: When will your state get added to the list?