Animal Health Issues
March 31, 2005
By Ron Daines
March/April 2005 -- Minimal-risk rules, which took effect March 7, were designed to assure safe meat imports into the United States, said Ron DeHaven, DVM, administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
The rules outline conditions for allowing imports of live cattle under 30 months old from regions taking steps to prevent and detect BSE. The rules also outline conditions for the import of sheep and goats, as well as meat and certain products and byproducts from them.
Meanwhile, said DeHaven, APHIS continues to use science-based efforts to assure Japan and Korea that we will send only meat products that originate from animals under 20 months of age, although he said the 20-month range is not appropriate.
"Twenty months is a marketing issue," he said, "not a scientific issue."
DeHaven told sheep producers in Reno that there is a pressing need for an animal identification system to contain the outbreaks of foreign animal disease, especially those that are highly contagious.
And he said APHIS is committed to eradicating scrapie in the sheep industry, noting the service will work this year to clean up flocks, increase slaughter surveillance and standardize requirements across states for freer interstate animal movement.
He added that China, which continues to prohibit sheep of U.S. origin because of scrapie concerns, resists new standards.