Ireland’s government announced that it will be the first EU state to export beef to the United States in more than 15 years. This follows an announcement from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on 1 November 2013, issued a final rule that updated its import regulations for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and verified the Irish government’s capability of ensuring that products meet the US criteria. This BSE regulation, which became effective 90 days after the rule was published, is based on international scientific literature and the standards established by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). This final rule has brought US regulations into alignment with internationally recognized standards. This announcement means that producers and traders in Ireland will be able to sell commodities to the US that pose a negligible risk of BSE. For example, boneless beef presents a negligible risk of BSE transmission and can be exported to the US. However, commodities that still present a BSE risk are still banned from import to the USA. Since the 1980s, the United Kingdom has seen more than 180,000 cases of bovine BSE. In 1989, APHIS began to restrict certain imports that could present a risk of introducing BSE to the USA. Since 1997, imports of bovine and bovine products from the European Union (EU) to the USA have been restricted.
Final approval for the import of beef products from Ireland was delayed while the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) verified that the government of Ireland has the capability and capacity to evaluate and approve individual facilities according to the USDA’s FSIS criteria. This is now complete, and beef products can once again be exported from Ireland to the US.
By: TN International, 25 January 2015