Saudi Arabia has agreed to resume US beef imports, the US embassy said Wednesday, opening the way for a return to the kingdom's menus after a ban over mad cow disease.
US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Joseph W. Westphal praised the agreement, saying, “I commend the Saudi Food and Drug Authority and the team from the United States Embassy in Riyadh, the Office of the US Trade Representative, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for finding a solution that meets the market’s needs and sets an example for continued trade cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States.”
The agreement ends a halt to sales imposed in 2011 after the United States had a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
The brain-destroying disease in cattle sparked a scare in the 1990s after the discovery that it could be transmitted to humans who ate infected beef.
Saudi Arabia will allow imports of beef and beef products from U.S. cattle less than 30 months of age, with access expanded to include products from U.S. cattle under 48 months after a phase-in period.
Ambassador Westphal concluded, “As Ambassador, I have worked on this agreement since I arrived here over two years ago, and I am delighted to see it finally come to fruition. This is a mutual success for the United States and Saudi Arabia, as it helps to ensure food security and a health agricultural sector for both of our countries.”
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