June 2005 -- According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Canada, Mexico and the United States have agreed upon a single North American import standard, as it relates to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Reports state that the harmonized standard is based on science and provides continued protection of human and animal health and food safety.
In conjunction with the North American harmonization, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has expanded access under its import regulations to allow for a range of U.S. commodities that have been prohibited since the single case of BSE was detected in Washington State in December 2003. The new regulations allow feeder cattle, less than 30 months of age, and sheep, less than 12 months of age, for feeding and slaughter to be imported into Canada, as well as bone-in meat from these young animals.
In posting these new regulations, it is the hope of the U.S. sheep industry that CFIA will also modernize its import regulations on feeder lamb in regards to bluetongue.
According to Peter Orwick, ASI executive director, ?Little feeder-lamb trade occurred going north before the BSE restrictions due to these outdated regulations being maintained by Canada.?
Canadian protocols, which were designed to allow feeder cattle from 39 low-risk bluetongue states to be exported into Canada year-round without testing, were changed in 2004.
ASI made a request to the Canadian Sheep Federation (CSF) that they support this change in the export protocols for feeder sheep to make them equivalent to that of feeder cattle. After a 10-month delay, the CSF responded to this request with a refusal to support such a change in current Canadian import protocol for sheep. To the knowledge of the U.S. sheep industry, CFIA has not yet addressed the issue.