Starting today (Monday), farmers who produce hogs for slaughter might have to make some changes if meat from their animals is sold for export. Japan’s revised its rules for what feed additives or antibiotics may be used to produce the pork it buys from the U.S. Paul Sundberg, vice president for science and technology for the National Pork Board, says he’s been asked a lot Japan’s new rules on importing U.S. pork.
While beef producers have been awaiting the resumption of their product’s sales to the Asian nation, Japan’s also the largest buyer of pork from the country. Sundberg says the issue is what’s fed to those hogs while they’re being raised, especially antibiotics.
“Animals get sick, people get sick, and at times we need to provide them with some therapeutic help,” Sundberg says. He says antibiotics are one of the tools pork producers use to help care for their animals. Some of those pharmaceutical products can be fed to animals right up until the time they’re slaughtered. Others must be stopped a specified length of time before the animals are sent to slaughter. Japan has its own rules on those deadlines, and has revised them.
Dr. Sundberg says Iowa farmers have an interest in keeping up to date as Iowa pork producers send a billion dollars worth of pork to Japan every year.
Sundberg says it’s not that Japan’s requiring any radical change in how U-S farmers do business. But starting May 29, they’ll require a longer withdrawal period for some livestock feed additives. Sundberg’s working to communicate to producers now that they need to talk to the meatpacker they sell animals to and find out if any of their meat is sold to Japan. Then they should talk with their veterinarian about their antibiotic use and about meeting the specifications for the Japanese market.
The National Pork Board has sent an alert to every member in its files and also sent information about the new Japanese rules to all the members of a national swine-veterinarians group. It’s also offering data from the produers of the animal-health products about how they can safely be used on animals that will be sold for export to the Japanese market.
Related web sites:
Pork Producers fact sheet on Japanese regs