The Cattle Council of Australia has demanded an immediate apology today [Friday] from US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, who took a swipe at Australian beef for being “stringy”.

Zoellick made the reference when announcing improved estimates for US beef exports despite a continued ban by Japan. He is reported as saying: “They’re [The Japanese are] now running so short of beef, one of their favourite meals, they don’t have the beef to be able to bring in, and Australian beef is too stringy.”

Cattle Council of Australia executive director Brett de Hayr referred to Zoellick’s words as an “underhand and cheap attack on the Australian beef industry”.