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LINCOLN, NE (AP)

Nebraska authorities say a Hastings company will be sending the first significant shipment of beef from the United States to Israel since Israel banned U.S. beef imports more than a dozen years ago.

Israel had barred U.S. beef after a case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, was confirmed in the United States in December 2003.

On Tuesday Nebraska Agriculture Department Director Greg Ibach (EYE'-bah) praised WR Reserve for complying with a rigorous inspection process that included Israeli government regulator visits. WR Reserve officials declined to comment on the shipment.

The department news release didn't say how large the shipment would be, and department officials didn't immediately return messages left by The Associated Press.

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