OIE say US Beef Risk Status will Remain Unchanged

FRANCE - A senior official of the the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has said that they will not automatically revise the United States' national risk classification if a mad cow case is confirmed there.
calendar icon 21 May 2008
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According to Yonhap, deputy director general Jean-Luc Angot told South Korean correspondents on Friday that the organization, also know by its French acronym (OIE) is not involved in international trade and limits itself exclusively to animal health and quarantine issues.

He said that a reported case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly called mad cow disease, is not a barometer for the setting of risk classifications, reported Yonhap.

The official said if such a case is confirmed the OIE will request detailed data on the country's ability to sort out specified risk materials (SRMs), its animal butchering process, the general feed system and animal health monitoring capabilities.

He said based on such an assessment, the organization could revise its BSE ruling on a certain country.

The United States has been classified as a "controlled risk" country by the OIE in May 2007. This allows it to export most beef cuts without restrictions.

Angot then said that what is most important is the ability of a country to effectively control specified risk materials (SRMs), so they are not passed on for human consumption, and how well the protein-based feed system is managed. SRMs are dangerous because almost all the prion protein that causes illness in humans is found in these parts.

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