News Releases

Date: 5/22/2007

Title: Cattlemen Call for Full Restoration of Export Markets

WASHINGTON - The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) today announced its decision regarding Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) risk status during this week’s 75th General Session of the International Committee meetings in Paris.

“U.S. cattle producers are pleased the OIE has voted to classify the United States as a ‘controlled risk’ country for BSE,” states NCBA Chief Veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Parker, who is in Paris for the meetings. “We have taken progressive steps to eradicate BSE for almost two decades, and our extensive testing proves these steps have worked.  In addition, our concrete system of science-based firewalls ensures the BSE agent does not enter the food or animal feed supply.”

Since BSE was first detected in the United States in December 2003, U.S. cattle producers have faced excessive trade barriers, with $4.8 billion in U.S. beef and beef product exports banned from international export markets. According to the USDA, 86 countries are either fully or partially opened to U.S. beef. Eighteen countries still have an unjustified ban on U.S. beef.

"We have been extremely patient, and these continued embargos on our products must be lifted,” says NCBA Chief Economist Gregg Doud. “It is simply unacceptable for such trade barriers to cause further economic damage to our industry. We expect this OIE categorization to trigger the lifting of long-standing political barriers to our products in various international markets.”

Of the 86 currently open markets, 53 accept bone-in products, and 30 accept product from animals over thirty months (OTM) of age.  NCBA will continue to urge the U.S. government to demand free, fair and reliable trading practices and a full re-opening of their borders to our products.

“There is simply no scientific reason for our trading partners to ban U.S. bone-in beef and product from animals over thirty months (OTM) of age,” says Doud.  "Seventeen years ago, the United States was the first country without BSE within its borders to screen cattle for the disease. U.S. cattle producers have led the drive to aggressively build and maintain strict government firewalls against BSE. With these unparalleled precautionary measures in place, it’s time for science to prevail and we expect countries to respect the OIE decision.”

The International Committee of the OIE unanimously adopted the resolution recommending that the United States - as well as Canada, Switzerland, Taipei-China, Chile and Brazil - be recognized as having "controlled" risk status for BSE. This status provides for trade in all beef and beef products regardless of age.

“International consumers are eager to enjoy U.S. beef products and America's cattle producers are anxious to export our safe, top-quality beef across the globe," says Doud.

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