US says 'thanks but no thanks' to German meals

17th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

17 October 2005, WASHINGTON - The U.S. government is asking other countries if they want unused ready-to-eat meals (MREs) that were shipped to the United States from Europe to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. State Department said Friday.

17 October 2005

WASHINGTON - The U.S. government is asking other countries if they want unused ready-to-eat meals (MREs) that were shipped to the United States from Europe to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. State Department said Friday.

More than 300,000 MREs have been sitting in a U.S. warehouse since their arrival because of laws that restrict the import of beef to the United States, mainly due to concerns over mad cow disease.

U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said the U.S. government has solicited other countries to determine if they need the meals to feed needy populations or victims of recent natural disasters.

Some 330,000 of the meals came from Britain and about 33,000 others originated from Germany, Russia, Spain and France.

The shipments arrived after the State Department solicited help from other countries for a variety of materials when Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast August 29. But when the food arrived the Department of Agriculture intervened, saying that U.S. law requires the food to be inspected.

"First of all, it's not an issue of fear of mad cow - it's an application of U.S. law," Ereli said.

The State Department had moved quickly to secure items from other countries at the request of the U.S. relief agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, before realizing regulations could prohibit the beef, he said.

"This was being done very quickly to meet an immediate need," he said.

"There were regulatory restrictions that many of us were not aware of at the early stages of this process," Ereli added.

DPA

Subject: German news

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