OIE Votes to Upgrade U.S. BSE Risk Classification

The Scientific Commission for the World Organization for Animal Health has voted to upgrade the U.S. risk classification for BSE to negligible risk status. This means the international standard setting body has recognized the U.S. as having the lowest possible risk of BSE in its cattle population. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says this is a significant achievement that has been many years in the making for the U.S., American beef producers and businesses and federal and state partners who work together to maintain a system of interlocking safeguards against BSE that protect public and animal health. He says the decision demonstrates a belief that U.S. surveillance for - and safeguards against - BSE are strong. Vilsack notes exports of U.S.-origin beef and beef products totaled 5.5-billion dollars last year. With the negligible risk classification from the OIE - he says we have a strong foundation in place to continue increasing exports of U.S. beef and beef products. Vilsack says U.S. beef and beef products are of the highest quality, wholesome and produced to the highest safety standards in the world. Moving forward - he says the U.S. will continue to press trading partners to base their decisions on science - consistent with international standards. When countries adopt science-based international standards - Vilsack says U.S. food and agricultural exporters and consumers worldwide benefit.

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