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MAD COW DISEASE.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- With a growing list of countries banning U.S. beef imports because of mad cow disease fears, the impact on the U.S. economy could be in the billions.

The United States is the leading exporter of beef in the world, totaling about $3.5 billion for 2003, according to Philip Seng, president and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation in Denver.

"This would be significant if we were to lose even half our export sales," he said. "This would be a very debilitating development in the United States."

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman told CNN's Soledad O'Brien on Wednesday, "We do know that the product" from what appears to be a sick cow "has gone into further processing plants from the initial slaughter plant, and we are now tracing that product.

"We've issued a recall for about 10,000 pounds of meat, which is a relatively small recall, and we'll be tracing that forward to see where the product went and to remove it from the food supply."

A number of Asian nations Wednesday quickly moved to ban imports of U.S. beef, after the first apparent case of mad cow disease in the United States, discovered in Washington state.

Russia followed suit, the agriculture minister Alexei Gordeyev told the Interfax news agency, Reuters reported. (Full story)

Within hours of Tuesday's announcement of a "presumptive positive" case -- final testing is pending -- in Washington state by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), an official with Japan's agriculture ministry told CNN his country would ban all imports of U.S. beef, at least temporarily. South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore all followed suit Wednesday. (Full story)

Mexico, Japan and South Korea are the top three importers of American beef by volume, buying nearly three-quarters of the total, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation Web site:

• Mexico with 28 percent.

• Japan with 27 percent.

• South Korea with 19 percent.

In 2002, Japan and South Korea accounted for 46 percent of U.S. beef exports.
 

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ByeByeChrysler said:
blame CANADA
Blame? Hell, let's invade. Time to put Operation "SouthPark Movie" into action.
:D
 

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perk said:
Blame? Hell, let's invade. Time to put Operation "SouthPark Movie" into action.
:14: Be nice now. This board is in Canada, wouldn't want them to ban us down here.
 

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zafer said:
Be nice now. This board is in Canada, wouldn't want them to ban us down here...
Probably right. Wouldn't want Canada to go off half-cocked or perhaps engage in preemptive strike by bombing all the Baldwin brothers' homes.
:2:
PS If you don't get it, you must see SouthPark movie.

PSS By the way, nice mug-shot.
 
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