South Africa will open its market to U.S. pork and beef, a move welcomed by the National Pork Producers Council and National Cattlemen’s Association.
“NPPC applauds President Obama and our trade officials for bringing home the bacon for U.S. pork producers,” said NPPC President Dr. Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C. “We have been on the outside looking in as our competitors from Brazil, Canada and the European Union sell pork to South Africa. That country banned our pork using non-science-based restrictions that don’t pass the red face test. Now that the barriers are falling, we have gained the opportunity to sell safe, high-quality and affordable U.S. pork to over 50 million new consumers.”
“While dropping the ban on U.S. pork is great progress,” Prestage said, “there is no scientific reason to restrict any of our pork, so we’ll continue to work with both governments to get complete access to the South African market.”
South Africa’s ban on U.S. pork was to prevent the spread of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) to South African livestock. There is no documented scientific case of PRRS being transmitted to domestic livestock through imported pork. Prestage noted that New Zealand, a PRRS-free nation, imported pork for 10 years from PRRS-positive countries without getting the disease.
South Africa closed its market to U.S. beef exports following the first U.S. case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in December 2003. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) also has recognized the steps the United States has taken to minimize the risk of future BSE cases by assigning the United States a “negligible risk” classification for BSE.