Top news stories from the festive holiday

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Over $100m worth of EU beef exported to the US with face higher tariffs
Over $100m worth of EU beef exported to the US with face higher tariffs

Related tags Global meat industry World trade organization International trade European union Beef Pork Poultry Processing equipment & plant design

US tariffs on European Union (EU) meat exports, mergers and a string of avian influenza outbreaks are just some of the biggest stories you may have missed over the holiday season.

While our editorial staff were away from the office for a week-and-a-half, enjoying a well-earned drink, the global meat industry showed no sign of festive respite. Over the Christmas period there have been a number of important stories you may have missed. Here, we round up some of the top news stories from the global meat industry that could have slipped under your radar.

US slams tariffs on ‘unfair’ EU beef trade

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) confirmed it would reinstate tariffs on $116.8m (€112.2m )worth of beef exports from the EU. In a statement, the Obama Administration said the action was needed to address “unfair trade practices that discriminate against US beef imports​”. It is the latest twist in a long-running saga between the US and EU over beef production practices. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has twice ruled against the EU, yet no lasting settlement has been found.

We fully support USTR’s decision to use the means available to it under US law to defend the interests of the US beef industry,​” said US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) president and CEO Philip Seng.

Over the past seven years, US cattlemen and meat packers have made significant investments to meet the requirements of the EU market, only to see the US share of the market undermined by producers in Australia, Uruguay and Argentina. This situation is unsustainable and demands a firm and decisive response.​”

Alectia and Niras merge

Danish engineering consultancy Niras has merged with fellow Denmark-based consultancy Alectia, which offers specialised advice to meat, poultry and fish players on issues such as industrial hygiene and production efficiency. With over 2,000 employees around the world, both companies said in a joint statement that they would continue to follow their historic “aggressive growth strategies​”.

Alectia CEO Jesper Mailind with Niras CEO Carsten Toft Boesen

Disease experts hits out at ‘misleading’ poultry marketing

The American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP) said that labelling on poultry products​ making claims meat was ‘raised without added hormones’ was misleading. The body said chickens in the US do not receive added hormones, so claiming that poultry was raised without added hormones made little sense.

Even though some poultry products may state they are ‘raised without added hormones’ on the label, you can have confidence that all products, so labelled or not, are in fact raised without added hormones,​” the AAAP said.
“The modern poultry industry has never utilised hormones or steroids to raise commercial broilers, turkeys or egg layers. In fact, no hormones or steroids are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in poultry, and doing so via the water, feed or injection is specifically prohibited by law.”

Bird flu outbreaks

Outbreaks of avian influenza​ (AI) strains H5N6 and H5 were reported in China and Slovakia respectively, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The south-western province of Sichuan, China, was hit by a recurrence of the listed AI strain H5N6. So far, at least 38,000 birds have been humanely culled to prevent the disease from spreading. Separately – but reported by the OIE on the same day – Slovakia’s capital Bratislava was hit with an outbreak of AI H5 on 29 December. One bird from a 65-strong flock had to be culled, while the remaining 64 perished.

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