USDA Moves to Ease Meat Import Restrictions
The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has announced its concurrence with the World Organization for Animal Health’s (OIE’s) recognition of Costa Rica, Germany, Lithuania, Mexico, Namibia, Romania, and Spain as being of negligible risk for bovine spongiform encephalopathy. This action will ease restrictions on meat imports from these countries. However, APHIS states that if any of these countries fails to provide required data in a timely manner, or such data shows changes that increase the risk of BSE introduction or spread, that country’s risk designation may be changed.
Separately, APHIS is proposing to recognize Mexico as free of classical swine fever following the granting of such recognition by the OIE. This action would allow imports of live swine, pork, and pork products from all of Mexico, not just the nine currently approved states, under specified conditions. However, any existing restrictions on imports of such goods due to other animal diseases will remain in place. Comments on this proposed rule are due by Oct. 10.