Mexico is placing an embargo on all U.S. raw poultry as a result of the California Newcastle disease situation, the Mexican Secretariat of Agriculture said in a letter to USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service this week.

The letter said all raw poultry produced after Jan. 10, 2003 would be banned. Shipments of products produced by Jan. 10 that arrive at the border by Jan. 17 would be allowed to enter, the letter said. Cooked product is exempted from the embargo.

APHIS dispatched a technical team to Mexico to discuss the Newcastle disease eradication program in California.

The fate of poultry exports is important to U.S. pork, because if U.S. poultry winds up losing export markets it winds up in U.S. supermarkets competing against U.S. pork.

A similar situation happened last year, when Russia placed an embargo on U.S. poultry products. Many supermarkets ran specials on pork, all meat in cold storage increased, and the poultry situation was a substantial contributing factor in the price drops of last spring and summer. The Mexican embargo is not currently expected to have as wide an effect as last year’s Russian embargo did, but hopefully it will still be resolved quickly.