Cattlemen reviewing USDA proposal on Canadian trade

US - Nebraska Cattlemen is reviewing the U.S. Department of Agriculture's proposal to expand the list of allowable imports from countries recognized as presenting a minimal risk of introducing bovine spongiform encephalopathy into the United States. Currently, Canada is the only minimal-risk country designated by the United States.
calendar icon 11 January 2007
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"We support free and fair trade that is based on science," NC President Jay Wolf said. "As an important part of trade monitoring, we will review the proposal and submit questions and comments before the March 12 public comment deadline. The types of questions which must be answered include: How cattle will be identified and followed; how many live cattle are eligible under the proposal; and, what effect will it have on the cattle market?"

He added, "We will work with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association to review the proposal in-depth, including looking at the assumptions USDA used in its economic analysis. In fact, NCBA is enlisting the help of independent experts to review the technical and economic issues."

The proposal expands upon a rule published by USDA-APHIS in January 2005 that allowed the importation of certain live ruminants and ruminant products, including cattle under 30 months of age for delivery to a slaughterhouse or feedlot, from countries recognized as minimal-risk. In the rule announced yesterday, APHIS is proposing to allow the importation of live cattle and other bovines for any use born on or after, March 1, 1999, the date determined by APHIS to be the date of effective enforcement of the ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban in Canada.

Meat and meat products from animals of any age, with specified risk materials removed, were addressed in the January 2005 final rule. In March 2005, APHIS published a notice of a delay of applicability of certain provisions of that rule. This delay affected only meat and meat products from animals 30 months of age or older. If the proposed rule announced today is made final, USDA says it would be consistent to lift the delay and allow the importation of these products.

In the United States, human health is protected by a system of interlocking safeguards that ensure the safety of U.S. beef. The most important of these safeguards is the ban on specified risk materials from the food supply and the Food and Drug Administration's ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban. Canada has similar safeguards in place.

Source: Journal
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