Almost a year in the making, and nearly two years from the time an application could have been submitted, Canada’s status as a negligible-risk country for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is one step closer.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) announced this week that the Scientific Commission of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has recommended that Canada’s application to change its status from a controlled-risk country for BSE to one of negligible risk fulfills the necessary requirements.

Minister Bibeau says this is an important step for Canadian beef producers.

“Today, beef producers can be pleased that Canada has taken an important step to being recognized as negligible risk for BSE. Although we still need to await the final vote, I am optimistic that this will soon allow them to expand their markets for cattle and beef exports to the U.S. and the foreign markets,” Bibeau says. “Our government will continue to stand up for our hard-working beef producers who provide top-quality products.”

A move to negligible risk status will decrease the level of trim required in processing animals, thereby improving competitiveness with the U.S.. It will also improve potential access into foreign markets for Canadian beef.

Canada awaits the World Assembly of OIE Delegate’s final decision, to be announced in May 2021.

Related: Canada’s OIE risk status delayed, but moving forward

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