Weekly global protein digest: HPAI in Austria, US beef, pork exports dip this week

Market analyst Jim Wyckoff shares highlights from this week's activities in the global protein market.
calendar icon 10 December 2021
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US pork, beef export sales slide in latest reporting week

USDA Thursday reported US pork net sales of 19,800 MT for 2021 were down 52 percent from the previous week and 26 percent from the prior 4-week average. Increases primarily for Mexico (11,700 MT, including decreases of 600 MT), Japan (3,700 MT, including decreases of 400 MT), South Korea (1,400 MT, including decreases of 200 MT), the Dominican Republic (700 MT, including decreases of 400 MT), and Colombia (500 MT, including decreases of 100 MT), were offset by reductions for Australia (200 MT), China (100 MT), and Peru (100 MT). Net sales of 700 MT for 2022 primarily for Colombia (400 MT), Japan (300 MT), Australia (200 MT), and South Korea (100 MT), were offset by reductions for Canada (300 MT). Exports of 33,500 MT were down 8 percent from the previous week, but up 2 percent from the prior 4- week average.t The destinations were primarily to Mexico (17,000 MT), Japan (5,000 MT), China (3,600 MT), South Korea (2,900 MT), and Colombia (1,500 MT).

US beef net sales of 4,200 MT for 2021--a marketing-year low--were down 80 percent from the previous week and 81 percent from the prior 4-week average. Increases primarily for Canada (2,100 MT), China (2,000 MT, including decreases of 300 MT), Japan (1,800 MT, including decreases of 400 MT), Taiwan (700 MT, including decreases of 100 MT), and Mexico (700 MT, including decreases of 200 MT), were offset by reductions for South Korea (4,300 MT). Net sales of 10,400 MT for 2022 were primarily for South Korea (8,200 MT), Taiwan (500 MT), Mexico (400 MT), Japan (300 MT), and China (300 MT). Exports of 16,700 MT were up 1 percent from the previous week, but down 5 percent from the prior 4-week average. The destinations were primarily to South Korea (4,400 MT), Japan (4,000 MT), China (3,300 MT), Taiwan (1,600 MT), and Mexico (1,200 MT).

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Detected in a Small Farm in Lower Austria

On November 25, the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety confirmed the first on-farm case of avian influenza this fall. The highly pathogenic H5N1 type was found on a small chicken farm in the province Lower Austria. The chickens from the affected flock either died or were culled under official supervision and the farm has been closed. As a result of this outbreak, the Ministry of Health, in agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture and the federal states, issued an ordinance with the requirement to keep poultry inside within the defined risk areas.

ASF, FMD and HPAI in China

On December 1, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) notified the US Embassy in Beijing that on November 10, China detected African Swine Fever (ASF) in Hainan Province. China is continuing to monitor the situation. MARA also notified the US Embassy in Beijing that on October 31 that China detected foot-and-mouth disease in yak cattle in Qinghai Province. China is continuing to monitor the situation. China also detected HPAI (H5N1 subtype) in Hebei Province. China notified the World Organization for Animal Health of the occurrence on November 30.

China’s meat imports down

China brought in 677,000 metric tons (MT) of meat last month, up 2% from October but down 12.6% from last year. Cheaper domestic pork prices amid a surge in production cut demand for overseas supplies. Through the first 11 months of this year, China imported 8.7 million MT of meat, down 2.5% from the same period last year.

USDA Secretary resisting calls for halt to US imports of Brazilian beef

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said it would not be appropriate for the US to halt imports of Brazilian beef even though the country was late in reporting two atypical cases of BSE earlier this year.

“At this point in time, there isn't a scientific reason or basis” to halt trade, Vilsack told Politico.

He also noted there is a “misunderstanding” about the issues with Brazil.

“There's the belief that there is something a bit more serious than in fact is,” Vilsack said.

Several lawmakers, including Democrats, have called for the halt of imports of Brazilian beef, calling on USDA to act.

“If we were to do that, then we would expose our own beef industry to significant restrictions worldwide under similar circumstances, which we don’t want to do,” Vilsack noted.

While the atypical cases are not an indicator of major issues with BSE in Brazil, some lawmakers contend the delay by Brazil in notifying on the cases raises questions on how they would respond to a BSE outbreak or outbreaks of other animal diseases.

Vilsack is relying on guidance from the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) which does not call for such a ban from atypical cases of BSE — ones that spontaneously occur at a low rate and do not pose a risk to other animals.

Michigan firm recalls over 230,000 pounds of pork

Alexander & Hornung, a St. Clare Shores, Michigan company that is a unit of Perdue Premium Meat Company, is recalling approximately 234,391 pounds of fully cooked ham and pepperoni products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, according to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The products were produced on various dates and bear establishment number “EST. M10125” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations nationwide. The company notified FSIS that product sampling reported positive Listeria monocytogenes results, FSIS said, but there have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

Cargill Canadian beef plant workers accept contract offer

Workers at Cargill's beef-processing plant in High River, Alberta, last week voted in favor of the company's latest contract offer on Saturday, averting a strike. The deal includes new procedures to ensure worker health and safety, new benefits, new rights for sick employees and “more money,” the United Food and Commercial Workers Union said. The plant processes up to 4,500 head of cattle per day or 35% of Canada's beef-processing capacity.

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