OTTAWA — Canada is now only at negligible risk for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in its cattle population, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health. The international body’s World Assembly of Delegates confirmed this country’s new status May 27 — recognition celebrated by federal officials and the Canadian beef industry.
The decision “marks the historic closing of the BSE era,” said Canadian Cattlemen’s Association President Bob Lowe. “We thank everyone involved in helping us attain this status including the Government of Canada, veterinarians across Canada and Canadian farmers and ranchers. We also thank Canadian consumers who supported Canada’s beef industry during the hardest times of BSE when Canadian beef couldn’t be exported.”
Negligible risk status is the most preferred under the organization’s three-tiered categorization system. Canada, which last saw the birth of a BSE animal in 2009, had been slotted into the “controlled risk” level since 2007. The change should make it easier for Canada to export beef and cattle to countries demanding that standard. A large number of major export markets had already approved all Canadian beef based on the prior risk designation.