Indonesia has banned the imports of all U.S. beef until it is convinced the U.S. dairy herd is free of mad cow disease.
The newest case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in the U.S. was discovered in a dairy cow scheduled to be slaughtered at a rending plant, where the animals are not used in any part of the food chain.
The disease cannot be transmitted through milk, and U.S. dairy cows are rarely slaughtered for meat.
“We will lift the ban as soon as the U.S. can assure us its dairy cows are free of mad cow disease,” said Rusman Heriawan, Indonesia’s vice agriculture minister.
“It could be one month or one year,” he told reporters. “It depends on how long it takes to resolve this case.”
Indonesia is a small market for U.S. beef. In 2011, it purchased beef worth $879,000. In the first two months of 2012, sales of U.S. beef to Indonesia totaled just $21,000.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told the Associated Press during an official visit to Singapore that governments need to use accepted standards in banning food products.
“It must be done in the context of evidence of sound sanitary standards as established by the World Health Organization,” Kirk said. “There is no reason for any consumer to be concerned about the consumption of U.S. beef. Thus, we would expect that Indonesia would quickly reopen its market for U.S. beef products.”
Official reaction to the announcement remained muted throughout the rest of the world, with no new bans or restrictions placed on U.S. beef.