Pink slime saga boosts Australian beef exports

 Like mad cow disease, although on a much smaller scale, Australian cattle exporters are reaping the benefits of the pink slime controversy in the U.S.

AAP reports beef and veal exports to the U.S. are expected to increase by 28 per cent to 205,000 tonnes in 2011/12, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) said in its June quarter commodities report.

ABARES attributed U.S. demand for imported beef to reduced cattle slaughter and an ongoing fall-out over reports in March that 70 per cent of ground beef sold in American supermarkets contained pink slime – a cheap meat filler treated with an antibacterial agent.

But beef exports to Indonesia are likely to fall by about 27 per cent to 530,000 head during the same period, after footage of cattle being treated inhumanely at local slaughter houses was aired on ABC television.

Public outcry over the footage led to Australian live exports to Indonesia being suspended for a month.

The live trade resumed after stronger auditing requirements were put in place, but exports have struggled to recover, with Indonesia now pushing for self-sufficiency in the beef market.