USDA Withdraws Over-30 Rule for Canadian Beef

Canada's BSE find in 50-month old cow causes USDA to reconsider proposed rule.

USDA has withdrawn a proposed rule which would have allowed Canada to send cattle of all ages to the United States.

Current USDA rules allow only cattle younger than 30 months of age to be imported. The proposed rule, removing that limitation, had been submitted by USDA to the White House Office of Management and Budget for policy review and an eventual public comment period. Earlier this month, Canada discovered another case of BSE in a 50-month-old dairy cow from Alberta.

USDA spokesman Ed Loyd says, the proposed rule is on hold until APHIS knows how Canada's latest BSE animal was exposed to infection. An APHIS epidemiologist is in Canada assisting with the investigation and Loyd says APHIS needs those results to determine if the rule is still appropriate from a scientific point of view, reports. adds if no new information is found from the investigation the rule may be reintroduced to the OMB.

R-CALF USA, who sued USDA for once allowing trade to expand, continues to urge APHIS to publicly announce it is postponing indefinitely plans to allow into the U.S. cattle over 30 months of age from Canada, and beef from those cattle, until the full scope of Canada's BSE problem is scientifically known and a new risk assessment is completed that incorporates the four separate BSE-infected cows born after Canada's feed ban was implemented in 1997.

Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., adds given Canada's history with BSE cases, "the science does not support this rule. We need to take a close look at Canada's enforcement of its feed ban, and I am hopeful that we will know more when our inspectors complete their evaluation of Canada's safeguards," he says.

Creekstone, a private company seeking to test 100% of its beef, says USDA's decision is the right one. "The discovery of a BSE-infected 50-month old Canadian cow means that not only should USDA reconsider its decision to reduce BSE testing, but it should also require segregation of Canadian cattle in US beef processing plants," states Creekstone CEO and found John Stewart. "The segregation issue has been a stumbling block in reopening the Korean market to US beef. Canada appears to have a serious BSE problem."

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