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US Welcomes Negligible BSE Risk Designation by the OIE

31 May 2013

US - The US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has welcomed the announcement by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that it has recognised the United States as having the lowest possible risk of BSE in its cattle population.

This “negligible risk” designation by the international standard setting body follows a thorough assessment of the BSE-related risk in the United States by an OIE committee of experts.

The committee’s recommendation that the OIE grants the United States negligible BSE risk status is a clear reflection of the effective BSE surveillance and mitigation measures that have been in place in the United States for many years and the extremely low incidence of the disease in the US cattle herd.

USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng said: “This decision by the OIE should clear away any remaining concerns that some countries have about the risk associated with importing beef and beef products from the United States.

“We think the decision announced by the OIE today should provide a number of beef importing countries with a reason to reevaluate their requirements for beef imports from the United States.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said: “I am very pleased with OIE’s decision to grant the United States negligible risk status for BSE. This is a significant achievement that has been many years in the making for the United States, American beef producers and businesses, and federal and state partners who work together to maintain a system of interlocking safeguards against BSE that protect our public and animal health.

"This decision demonstrates OIE’s belief that both our surveillance for, and safeguards against, BSE are strong. U.S. beef and beef products are of the highest quality, wholesome and produced to the highest safety standards in the world.

"Last year, exports of US-origin beef and beef products totaled $5.5 billion. With our negligible risk classification from the OIE, we have a strong foundation in place to continue increasing exports of US-origin beef and beef products. In doing so, we will continue to press trading partners to base their decisions on science, consistent with international standards. U. food and agricultural exporters and consumers worldwide benefit when countries adopt science-based international standards.”

The OIE has also reaffirmed Brazil's BSE status as negligible.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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