WASHINGTON, May 29, 2013 – USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said today he was pleased with the World Organization for Animal Health’s (OIE) decision to upgrade the U.S. risk classification for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to negligible risk.
“This is a significant achievement that has been many years in the making for the United States, American beef producers and businesses, and federal and state partners who work together to maintain a system of interlocking safeguards against BSE that protect our public and animal health,” Vilsack said. “This decision demonstrates OIE’s belief that both our surveillance for, and safeguards against, BSE are strong. U.S. beef and beef products are of the highest quality, wholesome and produced to the highest safety standards in the world.”
Vilsack said that last year, exports of U.S.-origin beef and beef products totaled $5.5 billion. With an upgraded risk classification, he said the nation should be able to continue increasing exports of U.S. beef and beef products.
“In doing so, we will continue to press trading partners to base their decisions on science, consistent with international standards,” Vilsack said. “U.S. food and agricultural exporters and consumers worldwide benefit when countries adopt science-based international standards.”
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