UAE Lifts Restrictions on US Beef Imports

US - Last month the United Arab Emirates (UAE) lifted its ban on US beef products from cattle more than 30 months old at the time of slaughter. Following on from this the US Department of Agriculture has eliminated regulations requiring that US beef exported to the UAE be certified as free of “mad cow” disease.
calendar icon 9 February 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

The USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service eliminated the burdensome regulations following an announcement by the UAE last month lifting its ban on US beef products from cattle more than 30 months old at the time of slaughter. The action by the USDA was the final step required to officially remove the restriction for US exporters.

“This is a great step toward expanding US market presence in one of the most important trading hubs in the Middle East,” said Michael Imgarten, president of United Source One, a leading exporter of US prime beef to the region. “The US food export industry welcomes the end to this trade restraint. US-raised beef is the safest and highest quality meat produced anywhere on the globe.”

The UAE imposed the restrictions in 2009, six years after a 2003 reported US incident of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), known as mad cow disease. No cases of BSE have been reported in the United States since 2006.

The USDA said on its website: “The Export Verification (EV) programme for beef to the United Arab Emirates is no longer required.”

To see the full USDA text, visit this website:

Mr Imgarten said the UAE action will aid food exporters seeking to expand their US businesses overseas as US beef sales continue to suffer in the struggling domestic economy.

While most beef products in the United States are produced from cattle less than 30 months of age, the complex documentation required to export to the UAE eliminated an estimated 80 per cent of the available US beef products from consideration.

“For the first time since early 2009, US beef exporters now can compete fairly with Australia, Brazil and other countries in the UAE which is one of the fastest-growing consumers of beef in the Middle East,” said Mr Imgarten.

Mr Imgarten has been instrumental in the US beef export industry’s work with the Office of the US Trade Representative, members of Congress and UAE officials to remove the ban. US officials urged the UAE to drop the restrictions, calling them scientifically unjustified.

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