Canada one step closer to attaining negligible BSE-risk status

Canadian Cattlemen

Canada is a little closer to being recognized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a negligible-risk country for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced today.

The Scientific Commission of the OIE has recommended to OIE delegates that Canada’s application to change its status from a controlled-risk country for BSE to one of negligible risk fulfills the necessary requirements. This recommendation has been sent to OIE Delegates who will officially vote on Canada’s application at the next World Assembly of OIE Delegates General Session at the end of May 2021.

“The recommendation by the OIE’s Scientific Commission to grant Canada the negligible status for BSE risk is an important first step,” said Bob Lowe, CCA president, in a release. “CCA respects the OIE review process and will await the final determination in May.”

CCA worked closely with the federal government to see this application come to fruition, notes the CCA release. Member countries now have 60 days to ask for any information included in the BSE dossier from Canada. The World Assembly of OIE Delegate will announced its final decision after voting in May.

A change from controlled to negligible BSE-risk status would help secure and negotiate access for Canadian cattle and beef products to trade markets that require products to originate from negligible BSE-risk status countries.

Canada has been recognized as a controlled BSE-risk country since 2007. One of the criteria for moving to negligible BSE-risk status is to demonstrate that any infected domestic animals were born more than 11 years prior. Canada’s last BSE case was in 2015, in a cow born in 2009.

“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 other foreign markets. Our government will continue to stand up for our hard-working beef producers who provide top-quality products,” said Bibeau in a government release.