Processing Magazine

Mexico lifts meat import suspension from 25 plants

January 5, 2009

The Associated Press reports that Mexico has lifted the suspension on meat imports from 25 of the 30 processing plants it banned imports from last week, according to a list posted on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Web site. The USDA said Mexico officials told them the country had concerns about the general condition of beef, pork and chicken products, sanitation issues and "possible pathogen findings." Mexico''s Agriculture Department said in a statement to reporters that the 25 U.S. plants had given Mexican authorities information on measures they had taken to correct the alleged problems. Those plants can resume exporting meat to Mexico as long as they "comply with routine sanitary and health requirements," the statement said. Mexico is a major buyer of U.S. meat, accounting for 40 percent of U.S. beef exports and 18 percent of pork. Mexico is the third-largest customer for U.S. pork. Imports from about five other plants remained suspended, according to the USDA Web site. Among them are a Smithfield plant in Plant City, Fla., that processes pork, beef and poultry. Also affected are two John Morrell & Co. plants in Sioux Falls, S.D.; a Cargill Meat Solutions plant in Ottumwa, Iowa; and other plants in Indiana and Nebraska. Plant list: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OFO/export/lmexico.htm