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Proposed Rule to Restore Beef Trade with Canada Is Based on Sound Science, Says AMIF

Wednesday, February 21, 2007
 

Bismarck, N.D. – Cattle and beef products can be imported safely from Canada and other minimal risk nations under the conditions of a rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to the American Meat Institute (AMI). AMI made its statement in testimony submitted by AMI Foundation President James H. Hodges to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Interstate Commerce, Trade and Tourism.

The proposed rule would allow Canada to export live cattle born after March 1, 1999 – eighteen months after Canada implemented feed restrictions virtually identical to those in the U.S. in order to strengthen firewalls against the cattle disease.

Hodges pointed out that the risk of BSE in North America is extremely low, and the risk to human health is even lower. “This fact has been confirmed by numerous risk assessments,” he said. He also pointed out that preventive controls against BSE – such as restrictive trade policies – must be based on sound scientific principles and reliable data. “To do otherwise endangers the credibility of all our institutions,” he said.

Hodges emphasized that between the APHIS risk assessment and a comprehensive evaluation of the issues, there is “ample evidence that cattle and beef products can be safely imported from Canada into the U.S. under the conditions described in the proposed rule.”

The bottom line, Hodges said, is that, “potential human exposure to BSE infective agent in the U.S. and Canada is exceedingly small compared to the massive human exposure that occurred in the U.K. Neither the U.S., nor Canada, will experience the animal disease epidemic or the number of human illnesses that occurred in the U.K. because preventative steps were taken to protect both human and animal health.”

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Together, AMI's members produce 95 percent of the beef, pork, lamb, and veal products and 70 percent of the turkey products in the United States.


For more information contact:
David Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
202-587-4243
dray@meatami.com
Janet Riley
Sr. Vice President, Public Aff
202-587-4245
jriley@meatami.com

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