In a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives today, 82 farm and consumer groups urged support of House Joint Resolution 23, which rejects the Agriculture Department's plan to reestablish live cattle and beef trade with countries that have documented cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

"National Farmers Union and others applaud the efforts of Representatives Herseth and Cubin for introducing this legislation on behalf of U.S. beef producers and consumers," said NFU President Dave Frederickson. "Immediate passage of this resolution should be the House of Representatives' highest priority."

"Now is not the time to rush in reopening the border with Canada," the letter reads, "particularly given their most recent announcements of BSE-positive cattle, discovered after the publication of USDA's plan. United States must be absolutely sure that the proper steps are being taken to protect the public before the border to Canada is open to cattle and beef products. America produces the safest and most abundant food supply that our consumers have come to depend on. It is unwise to potentially jeopardize the consumer trust instilled in our food supply to prematurely opening our markets to BSE-positive countries."

Source: Association Release