The World Organization for Animal Health, known by its French acronym OIE, has modernized the international approach to safe trade of beef products by updating its bovine spongiform encephalopathy guidelines.
Instead of looking only at the number of cases a country has, the new streamlined system classifies countries according to relative risk for BSE in a manner that reflects the steps they have implemented to manage and reduce spread of BSE in the human and animal food chain.
A statement from Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns explains that the United States and several other countries have advocated for guidelines that reflect science and could help resolve trade inconsistencies that exist when a country identifies a BSE case. "The international standard for BSE is now based on the same information that has guided the United States' current practices and the proposed minimal risk rule," explains Johanns.
The OIE has also officially recognized additions of beef products to the list of non-risk products. The most significant is the addition of boneless beef, which under the new guidelines can be traded without regard to a country's BSE status.