The Scientific Commission for the World Organization for Animal Health has voted to upgrade the U.S. risk classification for BSE to negligible risk status. This means the international standard setting body has recognized the U.S. as having the lowest possible risk of BSE in its cattle population. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says this is a significant achievement that has been many years in the making for the U.S., American beef producers and businesses and federal and state partners who work together to maintain a system of interlocking safeguards against BSE that protect public and animal health. He says the decision demonstrates a belief that U.S. surveillance for – and safeguards against – BSE are strong. Vilsack notes exports of U.S.-origin beef and beef products totaled 5.5-billion dollars last year. With the negligible risk classification from the OIE – he says we have a strong foundation in place to continue increasing exports of U.S. beef and beef products. Vilsack says U.S. beef and beef products are of the highest quality, wholesome and produced to the highest safety standards in the world. Moving forward – he says the U.S. will continue to press trading partners to base their decisions on science – consistent with international standards. When countries adopt science-based international standards – Vilsack says U.S. food and agricultural exporters and consumers worldwide benefit.
NCBA, USMEF Respond to Risk Classification Upgrade
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President-Elect Bob McCan says the World Organization for Animal Health’s decision to grant the U.S. negligible risk status for BSE is positive news for U.S. cattle producers. He says it’s an important step forward in increasing export opportunities for U.S. cattle producers. McCan says the classification further solidifies the fact that the safety and health of U.S. cattle and beef is a top priority for American cattlemen and women. He says the vote is proof that the science-based mitigation measures in place in the United States effectively protect public and animal health. U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Philip Seng says the decision should clear away any remaining concerns some countries have about the risk associated with importing beef and beef products from the U.S. and provide a number of beef importing countries with a reason to reevaluate their requirements for beef imports from the U.S.
Source: NAFB News Service