Colombia restricts U.S. beef imports amid HPAI concerns, groups say move isn’t science-based

Colombia has become the first country to ban imports of U.S. beef and beef products from states where dairy cattle have tested positive for avian influenza.

Ethan Lane with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the move isn’t science-based. “It’s disappointing to see a country like Colombia, which has been seeking access to the U.S. market for 20 years now, play games like this in this type of circumstance,” he says.

He tells Brownfield this isn’t a beef industry issue. “Yet the Colombians chose to shut down beef access and didn’t shut down dairy access,” he says.  “That points to them either being unable to grasp the situation that’s happening in the United States or they’re purposely trying to play games here and achieve some weird political gain.”

The U.S. Meat Export Federation says the restrictions have no scientific basis.  The U.S. is Colombia’s largest supplier of imported beef, and the suspension of beef from specific states is unworkable and misguided.  Exports are prohibited from Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas.

The U.S. exported around $40 million in beef and beef products to Colombia last year, and while it is an active market, it represents a relatively small percentage of total exports (which were valued at nearly $10 billion in 2023).

The restrictions went into effect April 15th.

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