The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s position on the latest BSE case is that “while this is unfortunate news,” it “does not expect this case to affect the beef trade status between the United States and Canada or other countries.”

James Hodges, executive vice president at the American Meat Institute, said “the discovery of another case of BSE in Canada is proof that the Canadian BSE surveillance system is working.”

The AMI represents meat packers and poultry processors.

Another industry group, R-CALF, however, disagrees and claims that the US Department of Agriculture’s policy allowing importation of Canadian cattle over the age of 30 months exposes US meat supplies and consumers to “unnecessary risk.”

R-CALF has long been an opponent of the USDA’s policy on imports, which it claims could allow animals with BSE to enter the US meat supply.

“There are no restrictions on these higher-risk OTM (over 30 months of age) cattle when they enter the United States,” said R-CALF USA President Max Thornsberry in a press release issued Saturday.

“These higher-risk cattle are allowed to commingle with the U.S. herd, enter the U.S. food supply and enter the non-ruminant US animal feed system.

“USDA has an absolute duty to protect the US cattle herd as well as U.S. consumers from the introduction of BSE that is known to be occurring under the OTM Rule, and R-CALF is again calling on USDA to immediately rescind the OTM Rule.”

R-CALF also said “when USDA implemented its OTM Rule, the agency stated that Canada’s BSE prevalence was continuously decreasing and that Canadian cattle born after the export eligibility date of March 1, 1999, would “have an extremely low likelihood of exposure to BSE.”

Since that time, Canada has detected six additional BSE-positive cattle under very limited testing, and five of these cases were born – and therefore exposed to BSE – years after March 1, 1999.”

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