January 28, 2005

Crapo: Investigation, Envoy Will Raise Confidence, Open Beef Trade Markets

Ag Committee gets update from Veneman, others during BSE hearing

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo today commended U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and officials with the Food and Drug Administration for their quick and diligent response to the discovery of a case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or â??mad cowâ?? disease, in a cow imported from Canada to Washington state, and urged them to work closely with beef producers and the livestock industry as they improve food safety and animal identification capabilities. Crapo expressed concern with the prolonged closure of our beef export markets and encouraged the creation of a special trade envoy to maintain a constant dialogue with nations that have banned U.S. beef to reopen foreign trade markets to U.S. beef. â??Valued at more than $975 million, beef cattle production is a vital part of Idahoâ??s economy. So like all of you, I was deeply concerned with the discovery of BSE in the U.S. not only for the safety of our food supply but also for the effects this discovery is having on the livelihood of my fellow Idahoans and our agricultural economy as a whole,â?? Crapo said during the opening of the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing. Crapo said that there are a number of critical issues that must be addressed by the federal government to improve food safety, restore consumer confidence and reopen foreign markets to American beef. But he urged federal officials to use science as their guide in working closely with producers and local communities, and noted U.S. guidelines make U.S. food products some of the safest in the world.â??Unfortunately, in the wake of this discovery, more than forty countries - including most of our largest export markets - have imposed bans on the importation of U.S. beef products,â?? Crapo wrote in joining Senator Larry Craig and others seeking a trade envoy. â??Swift and vigilant action is needed to minimize this loss and to ensure a re-opening of trade at the earliest possible juncture.â?? Crapoâ??s testimony at the Agriculture Committee hearing is available:Today, 1:45-2:15 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time, 12:45 p.m. PacificC-Band, Galaxy 3, Transponder 7 Horizontal, Downlink Freq. 3840 Audio 6.2 & 6.8FOR INTERESTED MEDIA: A radio actuality is available by calling 1-800-545-1267, Ext. 327. You can also access the actuality through the Internet at www.senate.gov/src/radio/crapo . # # #