With an eye to the future in a region where Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Bahrain have already lifted their bans on imports of U.S. beef and negotiations continue to lift the rest, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) showcased U.S. beef in Dubai at the biennial Gulfood Show, the largest food and hospitality trade show in the Middle East and North Africa.

Bans imposed since December 2003 on the basis of a single, Canadian-born dairy cow with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) do not stop USMEF from promoting U.S. beef and assuring consumers and industry buyers alike that U.S. beef products are safe, nutritious and delicious.

The four-day event attracted 2,000 participating companies from 53 countries and a record 23,500 visitors from 126 countries. It was an ideal place for USMEF to meet potential buyers, develop new relationships and supply information on the safety and quality of U.S. beef.

Those buyers from markets still closed to U.S. beef expressed great interest in resuming U.S. beef imports when the bans are lifted.

The Middle East relies on imports for 90 percent of its food needs. Since five-star hotels in Dubai are expanding at an annual rate of 30 percent, they have a growing need for high-quality U.S. beef and an overall focus on purchasing food for quality rather than cost.

Source: Association Release