USDA Withdraws Older Cattle Beef Rule

APHIS has brought the proposed rule of expanding trade relations back within the agency.

Published on: Jul 31, 2006

USDA has withdrawn a proposed rule which would have allowed Canada to send cattle of all ages to the United States.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

"This means that APHIS has brought this proposed rule back within the agency," says R-CALF USA President and Region V Director Chuck Kiker. "The assumptions regarding the scope of the disease problem in Canada, along with the ineffectiveness of the Canadian feed ban, must now be changed following Canada's discovery of a BSE-infected cow that was only 4 years and 2 months old."

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."