Japan to accept exports of US sheep and goat meat

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the government of Japan has finalized technical requirements that will allow U.S. sheep and goat exports into the country for the first time in more than 14 years.

“This success is a direct result of USDA’s dedication to helping America’s farmers and ranchers keep and find new markets for their products,” Perdue said.

This announcement comes after extensive work by U.S. Department of Agriculture technical staff with Japanese authorities to establish new terms for market access that are science-based and consistent with international public and animal health standards.

History

Japan closed to U.S. lamb in December 2003 as a result of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) detected in the U.S. cattle herd.

“The Japanese have proven in the past that they are very receptive to the unique flavor of U.S. lamb, and 95 percent of all lamb raised in the U.S. is grain-fed. It’s a very succulent protein that will stand up well to competitors’ products in the Japanese market.

“U.S. lamb has been well-received in other upscale markets, including Taiwan which reopened to U.S. lamb in 2016. But Japan presents an exceptional opportunity for significant export growth,” said U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Chair Dennis Stiffler.

Imports

Japan’s lamb imports reached a record value of $168 million last year, up 26 percent year-over-year. Through May 2018, imports were 43 percent ahead of last year’s pace in value at $95 million, while volume was up 28 percent to 12,265 metric tons.

Australia is the top supplier of lamb entering Japan with 60 percent market share so far this year, while New Zealand supplied 38 percent.

More details on Japan’s export requirements are available from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Export Library at www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products/export-library-requirements-by-country/Japan.

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