Indonesia suspends U.S. beef imports for mad cow
By Gobby Wang
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2012-04-27 11:24 AM

The first U.S. case of mad cow disease in six years was a 10-year, 7-month old dairy animal in Tulare County, California that was euthanized after it developed lameness, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

The animal’s carcass will be destroyed, the USDA said in an e-mailed statement today. The cow was identified as part of routine testing for the brain-wasting disease, known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the department said.

The industry's challenges come as beef exports are soaring, hitting a record $5.4 billion last year. The trend is continuing this year, with export value up about 10 to 12 percent, said Joe Schuele, a spokesman for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, a trade group.

Leading beef importers, including Canada, Mexico and Japan, responded quickly that the new mad cow case would have no effect on their imports. But the strongest reaction among trade partners came from those already skeptical about U.S. beef.

Indonesia, which previously said it wanted to reduce dependency on beef imports and ultimately become self-sufficient, on Thursday became the first country to suspend U.S. beef imports. Indonesia's Vice Agriculture Minister Rusman Heriawan said the country would lift the ban "as soon as the U.S. can assure us its dairy cows are free of mad cow disease."

Indonesia last year imported 20,000 tons of American beef, a tiny fraction of U.S. beef shipments

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