USDA Proposes to Allow Meat Imports From Southern Patagonia in Argentina

US - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing to amend its regulations to add the southern portion of Patagonia in Argentina to the list of regions considered free of rinderpest and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
calendar icon 10 January 2007
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In order to confirm the FMD disease-free status of this area, APHIS completed a thorough risk assessment, conducted site visits and collected information from Argentina’s government.

In addition to the proposal involving a change in disease status, APHIS is also proposing to add this area to the list of regions subject to restrictions on meat and meat products because of the proximity to and trading relationships with affected areas. These restrictions would require actions such as preparing meat and meat products for export in a USDA inspected facility and sending a certificate issued by the government of Argentina with the product stating that it has not commingled with product from an FMD affected area.

Since the proposed rule would allow the importation of all ruminants and ruminant products from Southern Patagonia, APHIS expects the rule to result in imports of lamb, mutton and goat meat, with the overwhelming majority being lamb and mutton. Sheep make up the majority of livestock in this area, comprising almost 60 percent of the entire sheep population in Argentina. The government of Argentina forecasts that it would export an average of 13.2 million pounds of sheep meat to the United States per year.

Foot-and-mouth disease is a severe, highly contagious viral disease of cattle and swine. It also affects sheep, goats, deer and other cloven-hoofed ruminants. The United States has been FMD free since 1929. Rinderpest is an infectious viral disease of cattle. It is commonly referred to as cattle plague and is not found in the United States.

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