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APHIS Proposes New Bovine Import Regulations In Line with International Animal Health Standards

Friday, March 9, 2012

(American Meat Institute)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has proposed new import regulations for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Under the new rule, APHIS would adopt the same criteria and categories that the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) uses to identify a country’s BSE risk status -- negligible, controlled and undetermined risk. APHIS would base its import policy for a particular country on that country’s risk classification as determined by OIE’s risk evaluation. The rule would also allow APHIS to conduct its own assessment when deemed necessary, such as when a country is not yet classified by the OIE for BSE risk and requests that APHIS conduct a risk evaluation using criteria equivalent to that used by OIE. All countries would be considered by APHIS to have an undetermined BSE risk unless officially recognized as either negligible or controlled risk.

“We have long said that having a comprehensive U.S. BSE rule in place will show leadership on the global scale and will give USTR and USDA a stronger position to press other nations to follow the OIE's guidelines and adopt science-based BSE policies,” said AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle. “Using internationally recognized science-based standards as the basis for trade facilitates exports and imports of meat and poultry products -- for the benefit of consumers and producers."

The proposed regulations will be published in the Federal Register within a week and APHIS will accept comments submitted within 60 days of its publication.

The notice as well as a detailed Q&A on the regulations are available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/.

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