Ottawa: The Government of Canada welcomes the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposal to modernize its import regulations for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The proposed changes are based on World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines, which Canada also follows.
"Canada supports today's announcement as we have always maintained that a science-based approach is the best way to manage BSE," said agriculture minister Ritz. "We know that trade should not be affected when countries such as Canada and the United States put in place appropriate measures to protect human and animal health."
OIE guidelines allow for live cattle and beef products to be safely traded, provided that countries have taken appropriate steps to manage BSE, such as feed controls and surveillance. This announcement follows Minister Ritz's trade mission to Washington, D.C. where he raised the importance of trade based on sound science and rules that are in line with the international guidelines of the OIE.
Given the integrated North American cattle market, Canada already enjoys a strong trade relationship with the US. This proposed approach underscores the commitment on both sides of the border to responsibly manage BSE, without placing unnecessary restrictions on trade.
Canada continues to effectively manage BSE through a series of integrated safeguards designed to protect both human and animal health. These include prohibiting risk materials from entering the human food and animal feed chains and testing cattle for BSE.
The USDA is accepting comments on its proposed rule for 60 days. For more information on the proposal, visit the USDA website.
For more information on Canada's BSE control measures call 1-800-442-2342 or visit www.inspection.gc.ca/bse.