USDA Explains New, Comprehensive BSE Rule


In 2003, the discovery of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in the United States resulted in the closure of markets for U.S. ruminant exports and substantial losses for American beef producers. Since then the U.S. has been working hard to regain market excess for exports.

Dr. John Clifford, USDA APHIS Deputy Administrator and Chief Veterinary Officer, announced Friday a proposed rule to modernize the USDA’s BSE regulations.

The World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE, provides recommendations for safe trade based on a country’s BSE risk classifications. OIE guidelines include three levels of risk in countries or regions – negligible, controlled and undetermined.

Clifford was quick to point out that control of imports is only one of several interlocking safeguards against BSE and that this rule would have other benefits as well.

The proposed BSE comprehensive rule is open for a 60-day public comment period following its publication in the Federal Register this week.

Meanwhile, it has brought mixed reactions from livestock industry groups.  R-Calf USA stated in reaction that, “We are deeply disappointed that the Obama Administration has chosen to follow the dangerous course first charted by the Bush Administration to systematically relax longstanding and essential disease protection standards at our borders.”  The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Kent Bacus states that, “NCBA has been pushing for this rule since the first case of BSE was detected in the United States in December 2003. This has been a long time coming and we certainly welcome USDA’s announcement. Quite simply, this proposed rule will show the United States is willing to talk the talk and walk the walk with regard to following international standards developed by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).”

© Northern Ag Network 2012

(Audio Credit to Jason Vance of Farm Progress in Columbia, Missouri and the NAFB News Service)

Posted by Haylie Shipp


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