A group of journalists from Japan this summer learned more about U.S. policies on animal disease and foodborne illness through an industry tour with help from the U.S. Export Federation, the National Cattleman's Beef Association, Colorado State University.
Funding support for the team's visit was provided by the Beef Checkoff Program and the USDA Market Access Program.
In Japan, technology used in U.S agriculture and a lack of knowledge about U.S. beef production creates bias for some consumers there.
"The team met with a number of professionals who provided a firsthand look at the U.S. beef industry and its management structure," said USMEF-Japan Senior Director for Technical Services Susumu Harada, who guided the team during its visit.
"Those journalists on the visit evaluated highly the overall structure, including safety and prevention measures of animal disease and foodborne illnesses."
At USMEF, the visitors learned about the structure of the U.S. beef industry – where and how cattle are fed and slaughtered.
During the team's visit to NCBA headquarters in Centennial, Colo., the Japanese journalists were presented with information about the checkoff's Beef Quality Assurance Program, which provides guidelines for cattle management.
Harada said the presentation and follow-up discussion was especially helpful because it provided details of actions taken during past foodborne-illness and BSE outbreaks.
"The discussion confirmed to the team that the U.S. beef industry, in cooperation with the U.S. government, research institutes, the Centers for Disease Control and other agencies take great precaution and make immediate efforts to communicate on issues," Harada said.
A tour of CSU's research and experimentation facilities in Fort Collins, Colo., included a look inside the school's veterinary teaching hospital. There, the journalists witnessed practical uses of technology for prevention and treatment of animal diseases.
Visits to Colorado cattle operations included the Running Creek Ranch in Elizabeth and the Silver Spur Ranch in Elbert.
"The ranch visits helped give the team confidence that U.S. cattle producers have detailed management practices that address the concerns of the Japanese general public," Harada said. "Learning about the BQA program went hand-in-hand with that notion, further confirming the efforts of U.S. producers."
Source: Beef Checkoff