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U.S. lamb returns to Japanese market

Source: Wikimedia Commons

United States lamb producers rejoice over news of Japan reopening its doors U.S. lamb products.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday announced the United States lamb had regained access to Japan. Japan closed its doors to U.S. lamb in 2003, when Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, was detected within the U.S. cattle herd.

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) chair Dennis Stiffler spoke on behalf of the United States lamb industry. Stiffler says U.S. lamb producers are “excited to again export quality products to an upscale market.” Stiffler mentions U.S. lamb has been well-received in other upscale markets, such as Taiwan. However, he believes Japan presents “an exceptional opportunity for significant export growth”

Japan leads the value market for United States beef and pork. Officials expect Japanese consumers to similarly embrace United States lamb.

USMEF president and CEO Dan Halstrom thanked U.S. agricultural and trade officials for their efforts to restore market access for U.S. lamb. He says the announcement lays the groundwork for a much-needed boost for lamb exports.

USMEF records show an increase in demand for lamb in Japan. Last year, the country imported a record value of lamb, totaling $168 million, up 26-percent year-over-year. Through May 2018, imports were 43-percent ahead of last year’s value pace.