Murray to USDA: Protect American Consumers, Cattle Ranchers

Mar 04 2004

Proposal by USDA puts industry livelihood, consumer confidence in jeopardy

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today denounced a decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to move forward with a proposal that could allow live cattle from Canada to enter the United States as early as this spring.

The proposal by USDA would list Canada – the country of origin for the single case of Mad Cow disease discovered in the U.S. in December of 2003 and a case in Alberta, Canada last May - as a country with “minimal risk” and would allow imports of Canadian beef into the U.S. as early as this spring.

“USDA’s proposal to reopen U.S. markets to Canadian beef imports at a time when our own beef industry is struggling is a slap in the face to U.S. ranchers and cattlemen,” Murray said. “Our government should be in the business of protecting American beef producers and increasing consumer confidence – not opening our borders and our economy to future threats.”

USDA recently announced that the discovery of Mad Cow disease will cost the U.S. beef industry nearly $6 billion this year. Senator Murray remains committed to reopening critical foreign markets to American beef and taking steps in Congress to ensure the safety of the U.S. beef supply.

Murray is a cosponsor of the Durbin Bill, which would help protect the livelihood of America’s cattlemen and ranchers and improve the safety of America’s food supply. The Durbin bill would permanently ban downer cows from the human food supply, implement mandatory country of origin labeling, provide mandatory recall authority for FDA and USDA, broaden our testing regime and invest critical dollars in BSE and disease research.