APHIS Establishes Prioritization Process for Reviewing Animal Health Status
January 20, 2017

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced a new process for prioritizing reviews of countries or regions it has previously granted animal health status recognition. APHIS is establishing this review process, as directed by Congress in the FY16 appropriations bill, to increase assurances that our import processes appropriately mitigate the risk of foreign animal diseases.

According to American Sheep Industry Association Animal Health Committee Chair Jim Logan, DVM, "We applaud APHIS for establishing this prioritization process. In the past, the risk assessments done for countries and regions have at times been outdated, likely because the regulatory process itself has taken a long time. ASI and others have communicated with APHIS that priorities should be established and the regulatory processes pursued in a timely manner on import proposals. ASI has also communicated with APHIS that quantitative evaluations of disease risk should be part of the process."

APHIS will maintain a strategic plan for conducting reviews of APHIS-recognized animal health statuses of foreign regions. Each year, APHIS will determine the number of regions it will select for review during the following year, which will vary depending on availability of resources, travel funds and any emerging issues and/or unforeseen circumstances.

The new process is applicable for regions that have not reported disease outbreaks or pest occurrences for which the region is recognized since APHIS' most recent evaluation.