Mexico has suspended meat imports from 30 processing plants in 14 US states, including some of the nation's largest.
As a result of the suspension beef and pork futures were down in trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Friday.
Among the plants listed on the site are;
- Smithfield Packing Inc. plant in Tarheel, N.C., the world's largest pork slaughterhouse.
Smithfield plant in Plant City, Fla., that processes pork, beef and poultry
- three plants operated by subsidiary John Morrell & Co.,
- two in South Dakota
- one in Iowa, a Nebraska pork run by subsidiary Farmland Foods Inc.
- a Pennsylvania beef plant run by its Moyer Packing Co. unit.
- Six operations run by Tyson Foods Inc. in Iowa, Texas and Nebraska.
- other affected plants are run by food giants Cargill Inc. and Swift Foods Inc., along with Seaboard Corp. and 11 small private companies in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma and Utah.
According to published reports, the suspensions may be in retaliation for the US putting a country-of-origin labelling law into effect on Oct. 1 in response to concerns the safety of imports.
On the 18th December Mexico joined Canada in opposing the law, which involves fresh beef and pork, in a complaint to the World Trade Organization. Canada's government filed its complaint Dec. 1, saying it was concerned the U.S. rules were discriminating against Canadian agricultural exporters.
The complaints generate a 60-day consultation period between the governments, after which the WTO can step in with an investigative panel.
The country-of-origin labeling law mandates the separation of foreign cattle and pigs in US feedlots and packing plants. Foreign animals are also required to have more documentation about where they come from and, in the case of cattle, must have tags that indicate they are free of mad cow disease.
Canadian farm groups say a growing number of meat plants in the US are refusing to accept Canadian cattle and hogs for processing since the law went into effect.
However it is hoped that the ban will be brief. According to Reuters "If everything goes well, the plants could be re-listed next Monday," Mexico's agriculture ministry said on Friday.