For Japanese P.M., today’s lunch is All-American

Prime Minister treated to American beef after Baucus, Tester request

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Prime Minister of Japan was treated to American cheeseburgers for lunch at Camp David today, a few days after Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester urged the White House to serve home-grown beef during the prime minister's visit to the United States.

Today during a meeting at Camp David, the President's staff served an all-American meal for lunch: cheeseburgers, onion rings and apple pie ala mode.

Earlier this week, Baucus and Tester sent a letter to the White House Chef, asking her to serve Prime Minister Shinzo Abe beef raised in Montana.   The senators said serving Abe American beef will help convince Japan to lift its restrictions on U.S. imports.

Currently Japan only allows shipments of U.S. beef from cattle 20 months old or younger.  Japan banned American beef in 2003, after a Canadian-born cow tested positive for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, commonly known as Mad Cow Disease.  Health standards certify the safety of all U.S. beef, regardless of age.

Baucus is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over international trade.  Earlier this week he said sometimes, there's no substitute for an old-fashioned taste test.

"It's great that Prime Minister Abe got to experience for himself what the highest quality, safest beef in the world tastes like," Baucus said. "Now he shouldn't deprive millions of folks in Japan the same great experience."

Tester butchers beef for his family on his Montana farm.  Tester's operation, called T-Bone Farms, was homesteaded by his grandparents a century ago.

"I'm glad the Prime Minister got a chance to find that out for himself that we produce the best burgers in the world.  Next time I hope he has a T-Bone," said Tester.  "A few cheeseburgers today will hopefully reopen the door to millions of folks on the other side of the ocean."