APHIS Seeks Comments on Proposed Rule to Allow the Importation of Bone-In Lamb Meat from Uruguay
July 1, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing to amend its regulations to allow for the importation of bone-in lamb meat from Uruguay. According to the APHIS release, this proposal is based on evidence from a comprehensive, science-based risk assessment that shows bone-in lamb meat can be imported safely from Uruguay provided certain conditions are met.

Currently, only deboned lamb can be exported from Uruguay into the United States.

Uruguay requested an exemption from the foot-and-mouth disease deboning mitigation required under the current regulations, in order to export rack of lamb to the United States.

Uruguay's proposed exemption would apply to a select group of lambs. These lambs would be subjected to additional mitigations, including FMD testing with negative results, individual animal identification - as part of a national traceability system - and separation of select lambs from other FMD-susceptible animals following testing.

After a thorough evaluation and a 2014 site visit to verify Uruguay's documented process, APHIS has determined that Uruguay has the authority, ability and motivation to ensure the measures are followed and that the proposed plan poses a negligible risk of bringing FMD into the United States.

The American Sheep Industry Association will be reviewing the proposed rule and developing a set of comments. The proposed rule is available at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-07-01/pdf/2016-15625.pdf. Comments can be submitted at www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2015-0050 through Aug. 30.