USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced Thursday a proposal to allow more products to be imported from countries categorized as a minimal risk to introduce bovine spongiform encephalopathy into the U.S.
"This proposal would continue to protect against BSE in the United States while taking the next step forward in our efforts to implement science-based trade relations with countries that have appropriate safeguards in place to prevent BSE," says USDA Secretary Mike Johanns.
The rule will currently only affect imports from Canada, the only country designated by the U.S. as a minimal risk.
"We previously recognized Canada's comprehensive set of safeguards and we have now completed a risk assessment confirming that additional animals and products can be safely traded," Johanns says.
APHIS is proposing to allow imports of:
-Live cattle and other bovines for any use born on or after, March 1, 1999, the date determined by APHIS to be the date of effective enforcement of the ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban in Canada;
-Blood and blood products derived from bovines, collected under certain conditions; and
-Casings and part of the small intestine derived from bovines.
APHIS will give consideration to comments on the proposed rule. The deadline for comments to be received is March 12, 2007. Comments will be posted on the Regulations.gov Web site.
To submit comments online: visit the Federal eRulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov, select "Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service" from the agency drop-down menu; then click on "Submit." In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2006-0041 to submit or view public comments and to view the proposal and the supporting and related materials available electronically.
To submit comments by mail: send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0041, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238.