The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued new regulations Friday that align the federal protections against mad cow disease with international standards.
The long-awaited rule, issued by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), drew praise from lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, who said it would help to open more international markets to U.S. beef products.
The APHIS rule for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, uses internationally accepted trade standards set by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Those standards will require APHIS to tailor its import policy for foreign countries on their risk classification, as determined the OIE.
The regulation, which will take effect 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register, also allows APHIS to conduct its own assessments.
“Making these changes will further demonstrate to our trading partners our commitment to international standards and sound science, and we are hopeful it will help open new markets and remove remaining restrictions on U.S. products,” said Dr. John Clifford, APHIS deputy administrator and chief veterinary officer.