USDA has approved a program that aids U.S. beef's export to the European Union. Integrated Management Information, Inc.'s Non-Hormone Treated Cattle umbrella program aims to give beef producers an easy way to meet EU export requirements.
After the EU instituted stricter measures on hormone treated cattle, U.S. beef shipments to Europe were largely replaced by South American producers. 90% of the beef imported by the EU in 2005 came from South America, led by Brazil and Argentina.
Only four U.S. meat packers currently have NHTC approval. One of those packers, Creekstone Farms, says it's not easy tapping into the lucrative EU market.
"The E.U. has strict requirements on facility sanitation and product packaging that can only be met by the most modern facilities," he says. "In addition to these sanitation and packaging requirements, an E.U. approved facility must comply with animal handling and water quality standards and all livestock is subject to testing for hormones."
John Saunders, president and CEO of IMI Global, says IMI Global's PVP program is the first approved NHTC umbrella program available to U.S. cattle ranchers and feed yards.