Beef and Pork exports are going great right now, but Dan Halstrom, President and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, does have some concerns. With African swine fever active in the Dominican Republic, just miles away from the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, Halstrom says it’s a wakeup call.
“This African swine fever issue in the Dominican Republic is a wakeup call. We’ve been pushing as an industry for regionalization talks, not only for African swine fever but for any foreign animal disease. African swine fever is the example at the moment. So, I think it’s essential that we get aggressive, not only the industry but our government, engaging key trading partners and at least having a discussion.”
Halstrom says USMEF leadership is feeling pressure from other countries to deploy a nationally mandated traceability system.
“The lack of a nationally mandated traceability system or ID system is a bit of a headwind, because some of our competitors, i.e. Australia, i.e. Canada, have national ID systems. Now that being said, I think we’re making progress in the U.S., even though we don’t have a nationally mandated one, we have private systems that are expanding. In that regard, that’s a very big positive because that helps complete the story. We have the taste, we have the reputation on safety, and now, if they have that comfort level as relates to being able to trace the product back, that kind of completes the loop. So, yeah, I think we’re making progress in this area.”
According to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), U.S. pork and beef exports raced to a record pace in the first half of 2021.