The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is accepting comments through Aug. 30 on a proposed rule that would allow the importation of fresh (frozen or chilled) bone-in lamb meat from Uruguay under certain conditions. This rule would exempt such meat from the deboning requirement for a select group of lambs subjected to additional risk mitigating measures, including testing for foot-and-mouth disease with negative results, individual animal identification (both visual and radio frequency) and traceability, and segregation of selected lambs from FMD-susceptible animals following testing.

Uruguay requested this exemption specifically to export rack of lamb, which includes the rib bones, to the U.S. However, APHIS notes that if this rule is finalized only a very small quantity of bone-in lamb meat is expected to be imported from Uruguay (less than three-tenths of one percent of total annual bone-in lamb imports into the U.S., most of which currently come from Australia and New Zealand).

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