Beef info provided at Japan forum

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Mar 21, 2005
by WLJ
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) used its presence at Japan’s FoodEx 2005, the largest food show in the Asia-Pacific Rim region, to showcase the tastiness of U.S. pork and educate attendees about the safety of the U.S. beef.
Since its debut in 1976, FoodEx Japan has become the premier event in the Asian-Pacific Rim region, and the third largest food and beverage show in the world, after SIAL in Paris and ANUGA in Cologne.
This year’s show, March 8-11 in Makuhari Messe, featured more than 2,500 exhibiting companies and 100,000 food industry visitors. USMEF reports 20,000 visitors to its booth on opening day followed by 25,000 on March 9. The visitors included buyers from major Japanese supermarket and restaurant chains, such as AEON, Daiei and Yoshinoya.
USMEF is providing samples of U.S. pork prepared with four different special sauces developed for the U.S. pork campaign in Japan.
“Conducting taste tests of frozen and chilled pork emphasizes the superior flavor of U.S. pork,” USMEF-Japan Senior Marketing Director Takemichi Yamashoji said.
U.S. chilled pork is highly thought of in Japan and distance prevents Denmark, a major competitor to U.S. pork in Japan, from shipping chilled pork to Japan. U.S. chilled pork shipments have risen substantially in the last decade and now account for as much as 40 percent of U.S. pork exported to Japan.
In 2004, Japan led U.S. pork (including variety meat) exports in value at $978,541, up 25 percent from the previous year and was second in volume at 313,574, up 16 percent.
The USMEF booth is hosted eight U.S. packers: Johnsonville, PSF, Sara Lee, Smithfield, Snake River Farms, Sugardale, SIG International and Tyson.
USMEF is supplying information on the U.S. beef grading system, especially A40 maturity, which has been discussed with the Japanese government for use in determining age of U.S. cattle eligible for export to Japan once the border reopens to U.S. beef. Japan discontinued accepting U.S. beef in December 2003 when the United States discovered a single case of BSE in an imported Washington state dairy cow.
Additionally, USMEF is distributing information on U.S. beef industry safety measures that ensure U.S. beef is safe and free of BSE. Updates on the negotiations between the United States and Japan were also provided.
“Buyers are asking when the market is going to open since they want as much notice as possible to develop sales and buying plans,” Yamashoji said.
Many buyers thought the slow working of the Japanese government means a resumption of U.S. beef exports to Japan is most likely to happen in late summer or early fall.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry and is funded by USDA, exporting companies, and the beef, pork, corn, sorghum and soybean checkoff programs. — WLJ