USDA announces of minimal risk rule for cattle and beef

by Editor
Wednesday, September 19, 2007

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced that it will make final a proposed rule to expand the list of allowable beef and cattle imports.

The rule will refer to import countries recognised as presenting a minimal risk of introducing bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) into the United States.

According to APHIS Administrator Dr. John Clifford the peer reviewers believe that the assumptions in the risk assessment represent the worst case scenarios and that the overall findings are reasonable.

The rule would allow the importation of:
  • live cattle and other bovines for any use born on or after March 1, 1999;
  • all beef and beef products;
  • blood and blood products derived from bovines, collected under certain conditions; and,
  • casings and part of the small intestine derived from bovines.

The proposed rule brings the U.S. into close alignment with internationally recognised World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) guidelines.

According to Agriculture Department officials, the proposed listing of additional items for importation is based upon a thorough risk assessment completed by APHIS, which found that the risk associated with these commodities is minimal.

Once finalized, the rule would expand upon the January 2005 rule that allowed the importation of certain live ruminants and ruminant products, including cattle less than 30 months of age for delivery to a slaughterhouse or feedlot, from countries recognized as minimal risk.

The agency said the rule will appear in the September 18 Federal Register and will take effect November 19.