May 21,2004

Grassley Urges Continued Effort to Resume Processed Egg Exports to Japan

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, today urged the Secretary of Agriculture to continue pressing Japan to lift its partial ban on U.S. processed egg exports, citing the safety of the U.S. products and the lack of scientific evidence to justify disease based trade restrictions.

The text of Grassley’s letter to Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman follows.

May 21, 2004

The Honorable Ann M. Veneman
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20250

Dear Madam Secretary:

I am writing with regard to the partial trade ban on processed egg products imposed by Japanearlier this year when a single case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) was detected in Texas.Japan is the U.S. egg processing industry’s most important foreign market, and U.S. eggprocessors and egg producers have been negatively impacted by Japan’s actions. As Iowa is theleading egg producing state, and as several egg processing operations are located in Iowa, the fullresumption of trade with Japan is of particular interest to my state’s egg industry.

I appreciate the efforts that you and others at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)have made to see that Japan’s restrictions are lifted. I am aware that officials from the Animal andPlant Health Inspection Service have met with their Japanese counterparts to discuss Japan’s partialimport ban and scientific matters related to it. USDA officials were helpful in providing the Japanesegovernment with scientific evidence – including a recently completed USDA study – thatdemonstrates that pasteurization inactivates the AI virus. Along with current U.S. measures to ensureagainst cross contamination, the fact that all egg products in the United States are pasteurized by lawshould remove any need for trade restrictions.

Given the scientific evidence provided by USDA, I am hopeful that Japan’s Ministry ofAgriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) will agree to permit immediately the unrestricted tradeof pasteurized liquid, frozen, and dried egg products, including the trade of shipments that have beenblocked over the past months due to Japan’s trade measures. If Japan does not agree immediatelyto remove its restrictions, I encourage you to keep working with MAFF officials on this issue untilit is resolved. In addition, I support your efforts to ensure that pasteurized egg products are excludedfrom future protocols that would permit trade restrictions related to AI, inasmuch as scientificevidence demonstrates that the AI virus is inactivated by pasteurization.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.


Charles E. Grassley