On Aug. 8, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced the United States would partially lift the ban on ruminant products from Canada. The United States placed a temporary ban on ruminants and ruminant product imports from Canada on May 20 after Canadian officials reported a single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in an Alberta cow.
Canadian officials have since wrapped up an investigation into the origin of the 6- to 8-year-old cow's illness. More than 2,700 cattle were depopulated and tested during the investigation, and no other cases of BSE were found. For more information on the investigation, seepage 919.
As of Aug. 8, the United States will no longer prohibit the import of hunter-harvested wild ruminant products intended for personal use and will accept applications for import permits for select Canadian ruminant products. These include boneless sheep or goat meat from animals less than 12 months of age, boneless meat from cattle that were less than 30 months old at slaughter, boneless veal from calves that were 36 weeks old or younger at the time of slaughter, and fresh or frozen livers from cattle. Also included are veterinary vaccines for use in animals other than ruminants, and pet products and feed ingredients that contain processed animal protein and tallow from nonruminant animals produced in facilities that have manufacturing lines dedicated to processing nonruminant animal products.
The ban was lifted after U.S. officials determined, through scientific analysis, that the public health risk posed by those products was extremely low.
"We have a long history of safeguards in place to prevent the introduction of BSE into the United States, and the continued protection of the U.S. food supply is our top priority," Veneman said. "Our experts have thoroughly reviewed the scientific evidence and determined the public health risk is extremely low."
For more information on the USDA's policies regarding the importation of ruminant products from Canada, visit the agency's Web site, www.usda.gov.