Chief veterinarian in the agriculture ministry Albertina Shilongo says they don’t deal with the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA), which has called for an immediate stop to the importation of beef from Namibia, but with the United States veterinary department, which has expressed satisfaction with Namibia’s response to a recent foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.
“We have not received any letter from them [Cattlemen’s Association]. We only received a letter from the (US) veterinary department about the outbreak to which we responded. They are satisfied with our response,” Shilongo said.
She further explained that the current FMD outbreak in the northern regions does not affect any export of Namibian beef because export beef comes from outside the FMD-affected areas.
“We continue to export to China, the US and the European Union. We have the redline. The meat we are exporting does not come from that side (regions affected by FMD),” she added.
The USCA called for an immediate stop to the importation of beef from Namibia.
The association’s president Brooke Miller, recently issued a statement calling for the need to ensure strong health and safety standards within the USA’s food supply chain, and cutting off Namibian supplies was one.
“The USA has not experienced an outbreak of FMD within our borders for almost 100 years – but in recent years, we continue to recklessly pursue trading relations with countries with known outbreaks. Congress needs to employ its oversight role of the USA Department of Agriculture and its pursuit of importing beef products from countries known to be infected with FMD,” he stressed.
Namibia only started exporting beef to the USA last year, following 18 years of negotiations.