Statement by Andy Mitchell, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister responsible for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
After several months, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has completed the drafting of an important new rule that will allow the resumption of trade of live cattle and ruminants, and has forwarded it to the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final approval.
The referral of the proposed rule on BSE to the OMB is an important step in moving towards the normalization of trade in cattle and other ruminants and products derived from them between Canada and the United States. While there is still work to be done before the U.S. border re-opens, this is welcome news for the Canadian industry.
This has been, and continues to be, an extremely difficult period for all cattle producers in Canada, as well as many other affected groups. The Canadian industry and governments have worked very hard with their American counterparts to move this process forward. I have been in close contact with former U.S. Secretary Ann Veneman on a regular basis and am very pleased with this tangible sign that things are progressing. We will continue to work closely with the United States to move quickly towards a full normalization of trade.
Under the U.S. regulatory process, now that the drafting of the rule has been completed by USDA, it must be reviewed by the OMB. This process normally takes a maximum of 90 days, but can take less. Once the review is completed and the rule published, it can come into effect after a 60-day period.
Since the detection of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in May 2003, both our countries have taken significant measures to protect human and animal health. These measures include the removal of specified risk materials at slaughter thereby preventing them from entering the human food chain, as well as enhancing BSE surveillance.