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Beef & BSE Issues

FACTS ABOUT AMERICAN BEEF

June 12, 2008

  • Do Americans eat U.S. beef?

    You bet.  Ninety-five percent of the beef that is consumed in the United States is U.S. beef.  We eat U.S beef and we eat it a lot.

  • Is the U.S. beef exported to Korea different from the beef that is consumed domestically in the United States?

    No.  U.S. consumers eat the same beef that is exported to Korea and every other country.  The United States only has one food-safety inspection system for all beef, domestic and exports.  By law, plants that do not meet these standards can not produce beef at all. 

  • Do Americans eat beef from cattle older than 30 months?

    Yes we do.  About 20 percent of all the beef we consume in the United States comes from animals over 30 months of age.  U.S. consumers eat beef and products from all cattle of all ages.  Processed products and ground beef can be made from cattle of any age.

  • Does the U.S. export low-grade beef and dangerous beef parts to Korea that it does not sell domestically?

    No.  The United States would not export any product anywhere for human consumption that is not deemed by U.S. authorities to be safe, wholesome, and fit for human consumption in the United States.  All beef that is exported to Korea is also consumed in the United States.  It is the same beef.

  • Is beef from cattle older than 30 months dangerous?

    No.  Tissues that could potentially carry BSE are removed from cattle prior to processing and are not allowed in the food supply.  Once these tissues are removed, meat from cattle over 30 months of age is perfectly safe.

  • Do Americans feed U.S. beef to their children?

    Yes they do.   In fact, most Americans believe it is very important for children to consume protein and significant portion of our protein comes from beef.

  • How many U.S. cattle are tested for BSE?

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been looking for BSE for over 20 years.  In 2007 alone, we tested over 40,000 animals.   This current testing rate is 10 times the standard testing rate established by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). 

  • Are many patients with Alzheimer's disease in the United States actually variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) patients?

    No. Symptoms for the human variant of BSE are clearly different from the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

  • Have there been any cases of vCJD cases contracted in the United States?

    No.  There have been about 200 cases of vCJD in the world (most of these in the U.K.), but zero cases associated with beef consumption in the United States.

  • Are Koreans more susceptible to vCJD?

    Over 2 million Koreans live in the United States and are eating U.S. beef, and there has never been a single case of a Korean diagnosed with vCJD.