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Mexico clears U. S. meat plants

USDA confirmed Dec. 30 that Mexico has approved 20 of 30 suspended U. S. meat plants to resume shipments to that country.

The 30 meat plants, which produce beef, pork, and poultry, were suspended from shipping to Mexico the previous week due to sanitary issues like packaging, labelling, and transport conditions, USDA and Mexican officials said.

The approved plants in the USDA report included those owned by Tyson Foods Inc., Smithfield Foods Inc., JBS, and privately owned Cargill Inc. Among them was Smithfield’s Tar Heel, North Carolina, pork plant, the world’s largest pork plant.

U. S. and Mexican officials insist the bans were prompted by sanitation issues. But, U. S. livestock and meat analysts continue to believe that Mexico’s opposition to a U. S. meat labelling law contributed to the action.

Mexico is the top export market by volume for U. S. beef, veal and turkey, the second largest for pork, and the third largest for chicken, according to U. S. government statistics.

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