USDA Aims to Import More Canadian Beef

Ag Department sends plan for increased Canadian beef imports to White House for final consideration.

USDA sent a plan to the White House Friday for increasing the amount of beef the U.S. imports from Canada.

Previous attempts to expand cattle and beef imports from Canada stalled due to concerns about the effectiveness of Canada's safeguards against bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also called 'mad cow disease.'

Authorities have been weighing the issue of importing older cattle, which have a higher risk of carrying BSE. Although both the U.S. and Canada have taken steps to make sure diseased cattle tissue does not contaminate cattle feed - the only known way for cattle to contract BSE - Canada found an infected cow this summer that had been born five years after the ban on cattle remains in cattle feed.

The U.S. imports about 12% of its beef, with about a quarter of beef imports coming from Canada.

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