Representatives from various beef
importing companies traveled to Uruguay to meet with the
Uruguayan National Meat Institute (INAC) and tour a number
of processing plants across the country.
Stuart Liefer, President of the Meat
Importers Council of America (MICA) and Pierce Trading Intl.,
Len Steiner, consultant for Steiner Consulting Group (commodity
trading advisors), and Terry Timmons Director of ConAgra Foods
(North America's largest packaged-foods company) expressed
their satisfaction with Uruguayan beef and the various processing
plants they had visited, citing among other things, the high
sanitary standards and accountability they found in all the
APHIS representatives Ricardo Romero
and Theresa Boyle with
Stuart Leifer, Len Steiner, Silvana
Bonsignore (INAC), and Terry Timmons.
Upon completing their tour, the group
wanted to receive first hand information on the sanitary
status of the Uruguayan beef industry, as well as a perspective
of the meat sector in the region. They met with APHIS representatives
from the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo who informed them that
Uruguay is well recognized for its transparency and cooperation
with the USDA regarding their sanitary concerns.
In reference to Uruguay's certification
under the natural/grass-fed beef program, the group indicated
that this certification is an important factor since there
is an ever-increasing market for natural foods in North
America and this feature would certainly pay off in the
long run for Uruguayan beef producers. In
2004 the program was audited and approved by Agricultural
Marketing Service as a "USDA Process Verified"
program (the sole foreign program to be certified by USDA).
Related item: Agricultural
Marketing Services reviews Uruguay's Certified Natural Beef