August 15, 2003
Import Permit Applications from Canada to be Accepted
Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced late on Aug. 8, that after a thorough scientific analysis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin accepting applications for import permits for certain ruminant-derived products from Canada.
On May 20, 2003, after a single cow in Alberta was found to have Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), Veneman temporarily halted imports of live ruminants and most ruminant products from Canada. Before making Friday?s decision, the USDA weighed many factors which included: a close review of the international standards set by the International Office of Epizootics (OIE); an exhaustive epidemiological investigation into the case by Canada; additional risk mitigation measures put in place by Canada in response to a review of their investigation by an independent expert panel; and a review of preventative measures that Canada had in place prior to the detection of BSE.
Based on these determinations, the USDA will no longer prohibit the importation of hunter-harvested wild ruminant products intended for personal use and will begin accepting applications for import permits for certain products from Canada, including:
? boneless sheep or goat meat from animals under 12 months of age;
? boneless bovine meat from cattle under 30 months of age;
? boneless veal (meat) from calves 36 weeks of age or younger at time of slaughter;
? fresh or frozen bovine liver;
? vaccines for veterinary medicine for non-ruminant use.
?Our experts have thoroughly reviewed the scientific evidence and determined that the risk to public health is extremely low,? said Veneman. ?We have a long history of safeguards in place to prevent the introduction of BSE in the U.S. and the continued protection of the U.S. food supply is our top priority.?
In related news, Mexico announced this week that it will follow the lead of the USDA and implement a similar policy as the United States? on the importation of Canadian products.
Staff contact: Paul Rodgers, (304) 647-9981