Rep. Case asks Canada
to accept Hawaii beef
While none of the beef from a Holstein stricken with mad cow disease came to Hawaii, the state's cattle exports to the mainland, through Canada, could be blocked by that country's partial ban on U.S. cattle exports due to the disease.
U.S. Rep. Ed Case has asked Canadian officials to allow the Hawaii shipments, including one scheduled to leave the Big Island Tuesday for Vancouver.
Hawaii ranchers ship about 42,000 head of young cattle each year to Canada for transfer to U.S. mainland feedlots, where they are fattened for slaughter and sale, said state Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Jannelle Saneishi. The cattle are shipped to avoid the high cost of feed in Hawaii, and go through Canada because U.S. law bars foreign ships from carrying goods between U.S. ports.
"The principal market for Hawaii beef is the mainland U.S., so it is crucial that Hawaii's ranchers be assured they can get their product to market amidst the international fallout from the recent BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) discovery," Case said.
Case said he is optimistic that both Canada and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide the necessary assurances in time for the shipment.
Canada's partial ban on the importation of cattle from the United States applies to meat from cattle over 30 months of age, processed meats and cattle not destined for slaughter, such as breeding stock.
Case said since the Hawaii cattle are all younger than 12 months and headed for slaughter in the United States, they should be exempt from the ban.
Yesterday, the USDA said none of the beef from the mad-cow-stricken Holstein slaughtered Dec. 9 in Lake Moses, Wash., made it to Hawaii.
On Sunday, Hawaii was listed with six other states and Guam in a USDA recall of 10,000 pounds of beef.
"These products did not go to Hawaii because they were not part of the transaction," said USDA spokesman Matt Baun. "The reason why we thought it went to Hawaii earlier is because some companies (in the state) buy from this particular plant."
Star-Bulletin reporter Rosemarie Bernardo and the Associated Press contributed to this report.