NCBA's Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall is excited about the opportunities the new BSE risk classification offers in gaining access to new and growing markets for U.S. beef.
In an NCBA audio interview Tuesday, Woodall shared opportunities available for U.S. beef following the Scientific Commission for the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) decision to upgrade America’s risk classification for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to negligible risk status.
The U.S. cattle industry has worked for almost a decade to restore global faith in its beef products.
“This will help us try to harmonize a lot of the trade issues we still have after the Dec. 23, 2003 case of BSE in Washington State,” Woodall said in the audio interview.
The upgraded classification may open the door to trade opportunities with China, a country that has been closed to U.S. beef for over a decade. The upgraded classification also gives the U.S. an opportunity to improve trade with Mexico and Japan, two countries already importing large quantities of beef. Woodall says the OIE’s decision may persuade Japan to extend its restrictions to animals older than 30 months and Mexico to import cuts of U.S. beef it previously kept away from.
Woodall credited the upgraded classification to the U.S. cattle industry’s multiple interlocking firewalls, speaking directly of the ruminant feed ban established in 1997 and enhanced over the years and the removal of specified risk materials (SRMs) before the animal goes into the beef processing plant.