Israel Lifts U.S. Beef Ban; First Shipment from Nebraska to Hit Shelves

red meat
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

TEL AVIV – After a ban that lasted more than a decade, Israel reopens its doors to American beef with the first shipment coming from Nebraska. 

The ban was implemented in 2003 after a case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), was discovered.

WR Reserve, a beef processing company in Hastings, Nebraska, will send the first significant shipment of beef from the United States to Israel, with Nebraska politicians praising the company for complying with laborious inspections that included visits from regulators of the Israeli government, which is one of the last countries to open its doors to U.S. beef

Nebraska State Ag Director Greg Ibach said, “This is a major step toward increasing Nebraska beef exports to an important market.”

Rep. Adrian Smith, a Republican from Nebraska’s 3rd District said, “This success story exemplifies how important it is for us to work with our trading partners around the world to combat non-scientific trade barriers and open more markets to Nebraska products.”

In a statement, Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) said, “Nebraska beef producers are the best in the world. This historic agreement with Israel is a testament to our producers’ tireless commitment to delivering safe, high-quality beef products to dinner tables around the globe. I was pleased to work with the USDA and the Israeli government to enable our state to supply the first American beef shipments to Israel in over a decade.”

Minnesota-based Noah’s Ark Processors is the parent company of WR Reserve.

Owner Fishel Ziegelheim, said the company is looking forward to providing the Israeli market with high quality Nebraska beef.

“It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome the opportunity to export to the State of Israel,” said Ziegelheim. “It is our intention to represent the United States and the State of Nebraska in the most professional manner, both in the highest level of Kosher and the highest level of quality.”

According to data from the USDA, Israel imported more than $400 million worth of beef products in 2014, with most of that coming from Latin America.