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Citing H5N1, Colombia restricts US beef imports

Beef from certain states in banned from entering the South American country, despite the fact that virus has not been confirmed in U.S. beef herds to date.

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Beef Raw Cut
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While no U.S. beef herds have been infected with the H5N1 virus, Colombia has issued trade restrictions on beef from states that have had confirmed cases of the virus in dairy cattle.

This particular strain of H5N1 has been highly pathogenic in poultry, but low pathogenic in cattle, and therefore, according to World Organisation for Animal Health standards, should not prompt any international trade restrictions.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Export Library, Columbia, as of April 24 has declared fresh or frozen beef and beef products derived from cattle slaughtered from eight states ineligible to enter the country. Those states are: Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota and Texas.

H5N1 has since been confirmed in a dairy herd in Colorado, but the FSIS Export Library hasn’t listed any restrictions on beef from there as of April 29.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) issued the following statement concerning the trade restrictions: “The restrictions Colombia has imposed on U.S. beef as a result of the recent highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) findings in lactating dairy cows have no scientific basis. Colombia is the only country that has officially restricted imports of U.S. beef. USMEF is encouraged that the vast majority of our trading partners are following the science on this matter.  

“The United States is Colombia’s largest supplier of imported beef, and Colombia’s attempt to suspend beef imports from specific U.S. states is unworkable and misguided. It has created uncertainty for Colombian importers and their customers as well as their suppliers, and will greatly disrupt trade. USMEF appreciates the efforts of the U.S. government to address Colombian officials’ concerns and we are hopeful that this matter can be resolved as soon as possible.”

Colombia has also declared goat and sheep, as well as their byproducts, ineligible for entry.

USMEF stated that the U.S. exported $40 million worth of beef and beef products to Colombia in 2023.

To date, no other countries have issued H5N1-related bans on U.S. beef.

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