posted May 1, 2005
In an effort to help normalize ruminant and ruminant product trade within North America, senior animal health officials from Canada, Mexico, and the United States have joined forces to establish a science-based framework of risk management measures for bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
The minimum standards were developed to promote an international BSE strategy consistent with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines.
"The North American harmonization of BSE strategies is a natural progression in becoming consistent with the OIE strategy on BSE. This will allow the three countries to continue to move forward on issues important to borders and trading partners not only within North America but globally as well," said Dr. M. Gatz Riddell Jr., executive vice president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.
Topics covered in the report are specified risk materials, nonambulatory disabled cattle, stunning, mechanical meat separation processes, import control, surveillance programs, ruminant feed restrictions, animal identification systems, and risk assessment.
Available within the same report are products the animal health officials will deem safe trade within North America once the minimum standards are in place. The products are beef and offal, live cattle, other live ruminants and their meat and products, and camelids and cervids and their meat and products.
Though these standards are not codified in North America, both animal health and public health officials in each country will consider them through their respective regulatory processes.
For more information on the nine minimum standards, which are not meant to change requirements for products already in trade, visit www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/bse/bse.html and click on "Harmonization of a BSE Strategy (PDF)."