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MEXICO CITY - Mexico expects to start exporting chicken meat to the U.S. sometime in the next few months, making it one of the few countries to penetrate the world's biggest poultry market, according to a Dow Jones story released yesterday.
The only other country that exports chicken to the U.S., where consumers chew up 25.6 billion pounds of the meat each year, is Canada. Canada's exports to the U.S., though, are limited because its production costs are higher.
The U.S. has recognized five Mexican states as being free of the avian disease New Castle, which has prevented Mexico from exporting its birds to the U.S., Javier Trujillo, director of safety and inspection at Mexico's Agriculture Ministry, said Tuesday.
U.S. food safety inspectors will come to Mexico on March 9 to begin a 5-week revision of 33 chicken processing facilities, according to the report. Trujillo said he expects some poultry plants to get the green light to export to the U.S. soon after the inspection process ends.
Mexico produced 2.1 million tons of chicken meat in 2003 and 1.9 million tons of eggs, making it the world's fourth-largest chicken producer and sixth-biggest egg producer.
The two largest U.S. poultry producers, Tyson Foods Inc. and Pilgrim's Pride Corp., already have processing plants in Mexico, and industry officials say they would welcome the imports.