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AMI Joins Industry Groups Urging USDA to Finalize Comprehensive BSE Rule

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

(American Meat Institute)

AMI joined the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the National Meat Association in urging the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to move forward with a comprehensive BSE rule that would give the organization the legal authority to base its decisions on whether to open the U.S. market to beef imports from other countries on the international guidelines established by the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE).

Currently, the United States applies bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)-related import restrictions to beef imports from the European Union (EU), despite the fact that most countries in the EU have been given the same BSE risk classification as the United States by the OIE.

A number of EU member states are linking their support for the approval of lactic acid as a carcass wash to the publication by USDA of its comprehensive BSE rule. Approval of lactic acid is essential to the second phase of a memorandum of understanding on beef trade between the two countries, which has resulted in a 150 percent increase in EU imports of U.S. high quality beef since August 2009.

“We continue to face BSE-related barriers to U.S. beef exports in a number of countries around the world,” the letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated. “Implementation of the comprehensive rule would not only permit USDA to respond to those countries in the EU that are interested in exporting beef and veal to the United States, but in our view it should also put the U.S. government in a stronger position to press other countries to follow the OIE’s guidelines and adopt science-based BSE policies.”

To view the letter, go to http://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/69954.

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