USDA publishes final rule on imports and BSE

By Daniel Enoch

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WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 12, 2014 -- USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has published a final rule amending import regulations for animals and animal products with regard to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease.

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The rule, which goes into effect March 4, describes a new system for classifying regions in other countries as having negligible, controlled or undetermined risk for the disease, APHIS said in a news release. The classification uses a science-based system consistent with that employed by the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health.

The rule also revises the conditions for the importation of bovine products and removes restrictions on the importation of cervids, or deer, and camelids, and products derived from such animals. In addition, the new BSE regulations prescribe the conditions under which certain commodities may be imported into the U.S. from regions that have been designated as having negligible, controlled of undetermined risk for the disease.

 

BSE is a fatal disease in cattle that causes degeneration of the brain and spinal cord. Humans can contract a form of the disease by eating food containing the brain, spinal cord or digestive tract of infected carcasses.

 

There have been four confirmed cases of BSE in U.S. cattle. The first was in 2003, in an animal born in Canada.

 

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