U.S. working on rule to allow live cattle: CFIA

OTTAWA (Oct. 27, 2003) — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has concluded its investigation of a single case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), found in a cow from an Alberta farm at the beginning of the year. The final analysis, which has determined that the risk for further BSE cases in Canada is extremely low, may propel the U.S. to open its border again to live cattle.

While the U.S. and several other countries have recently allowed selected cuts of boneless beef to be exported, most steaks and live cattle have been banned since the U.S. closed its border on May 20th, a day after mad cow case was officially announced.

In response to the latest report, the CFIA claims that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has drafted a rule that would enable the importation of live Canadian cattle back into the United States. Details of the drafted rule were not released, but CFIA says the rule must still be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget and then made available for public comment before the ban can be officially lifted — a process that can take several more months.

In the meantime, Canadian officials continue to meet with trading partners worldwide to demonstrate the safety of Canada’s food system. Mexico, Canada’s second-largest beef market after the U.S., recently announced it would open its border to live cattle if Canadian exporters could find a way to get the cattle to Mexico while bypassing U.S. territory.

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