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Colombia now fully open to U.S. beef

Full access to Colombia market brings opportunity for increased beef promotion.

U.S. beef gained full access to Colombia last week for the first time since 2003 as Colombia removed bovine spongiform encephalopathy-related restrictions on certain bone-in cuts. Beef derived from Canadian cattle imported into the U.S. for direct slaughter may also now be exported to Colombia.

Cheyenne McEndaffer, U.S. Meat Export Federation technical services manager, said removal of these restrictions will not only allow a wider range of U.S. beef cuts to be shipped to Colombia but will also help lower production costs because export verification program requirements are no longer in place.

She explained that reducing costs is important, as the U.S. beef industry seeks greater traction in this highly competitive market.  The latest development will allow more opportunities for promotion, especially for some of the bone-in cuts.

“As U.S. beef is grain fed, we do have a niche market. Colombia, especially cities like Bogota and Medellín, has a very strong food culture, so we’re seeing a lot more of our products being used in high-end foodservice establishments there. We’re also seeing it show up a little bit more in the retail case,” McEndaffer said.

U.S. beef exports to Colombia reached about $14.5 million in 2014 but trended lower in 2015.

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