Earlier this week, when Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, he faced a scenario that hit home for him and many others. Former USDA Secretary and now Senator Mike Johanns, R-Neb., raised the parallel of the safety of U.S. beef going into Japan to that of the safety of Toyotas coming from Japan into the United States.
Senator Johanns told LaHood there has never been a death in Japan because of the single case of a Canadian cow found with BSE in this country. Yet the Japanese have shut out US beef from their country and the market remains mostly closed to this day, over six years later. Johanns said maybe it's time for us to tell the Japanese to allow our beef in or we will treat Japanese produced Toyotas in the same way.
Later, during the Bayer Crop Science sponsored Ag Issues Forum in Anaheim, Califo., the frustration of Senator Johanns with the Japanese over the lack of progress in getting access for US beef widened resonated with many in the room and remains a sticking point that many say should be pursued more aggressively by the Obama Administration.