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Senators Call for Completion of BSE Rule

17 February 2012

US - A bipartisan group of 31 senators led by Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ben Nelson of Nebraska are pressing the administration to issue a comprehensive BSE rule.

The rule has been in the works for several years, but is currently stalled within the Office of Management and Budget.

In 2004, USDA announced its plans for developing a comprehensive BSE rule, a comprehensive rule the US beef industry has requested for many years.

Earlier this year, APHIS submitted a proposed comprehensive BSE rule to OMB, but it has yet to be printed in the Federal Register asking for public comment.

In the senators' letter to Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeffrey Zients and Animal Plant Health and Inspection Services Administrator, Dr. Gregory Parham, the senators asked them to issue the BSE comprehensive rule as soon as possible.

"Operating without a comprehensive rule has put our trade negotiators in a tough spot. On one hand they are urging our trading partners to abide by scientific standards, yet we have failed to lead by example by adopting a comprehensive rule," Sen Grassley said.

"These are important rules that can provide a tremendous boost to our beef producers by ensuring their export markets remain open."

"Today, overseas markets are more important than ever for America's beef producers, including those in my state of Nebraska. Adopting a comprehensive BSE rule will help them by giving our trade negotiators a stronger hand in advocating for US beef. And it will demonstrate to overseas markets the U.S. is leading the way on food safety as it offers nutritious and healthful beef products," Sen Nelson said.

The letter was signed by Grassley and Nelson along with senators John Barrasso of Wyoming, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Dick Lugar of Indiana, Jim Moran of Kansas, John Boozman of Arkansas, John Risch of Idaho, Rob Portman of Ohio, Dan Coats of Indiana, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, John Thune of South Dakota, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Udall of Colorado, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Patty Murray of Washington, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, John Cornyn of Texas, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Tom Harkin of Iowa.

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