The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has recommended that the US’ BSE status is upgraded to “negligible risk”, the lowest risk level under the OIE Code.
The recommendation was made by the OIE’s Scientific Commission, which conducted a thorough review into the BSE situation in the US following an application by the country to change its risk status last year. The proposed negligible risk status for the US will now be reviewed by representatives from OIE member countries and is expected to be formally adopted at the next General Assembly meeting in Paris, France in May 2013.
Commenting on the OIE recommendation, US agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack said: “I am very pleased with this decision and recommendation by the OIE’s Scientific Commission. This is a significant achievement for the US, American beef producers and businesses, and federal and state partners who work in coordination to maintain a system of three interlocking safeguards against BSE that protect our public and animal health.
“Being classified as negligible risk for BSE by the OIE will also greatly support our efforts to increase exports of US beef and beef products. In recommending that the US receive negligible risk classification, the Commission stated that the risk assessments submitted for their evaluation were robust and comprehensive, and that both our surveillance for, and safeguards against, BSE are strong.”
The OIE determines a country’s risk status for disease based on the actions taken to manage that disease. Countries defined as negligible risk are deemed to have conducted extensive surveillance and testing of domestic cattle to demonstrate a minimal risk for BSE.