Effective immediately, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has expanded access under its import regulations to allow for a range of U.S. commodities that have been prohibited since a case of BSE was detected in Washington State in December 2003. This is an important step toward the harmonized North American import standard for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) recently agreed upon by officials from Canada, Mexico and the United States (U.S.). The proposed regulations were posted for comment in Canada Gazette, Part I, on Jan. 30 and will be posted to Canada Gazette, Part II, on March 31.

These new regulations demonstrate how Canadian import restrictions have been reviewed and updated to better reflect international import standards related to BSE, as well as to advance North American harmonization. Under the new import regulations, some of the commodities now allowed include feeder cattle less than 30 months of age and goats and sheep less than 12 months of age for feeding or immediate slaughter, and bulls destined for animal semen production centres. Bone-in sheep and goat meat from animals under 12 months of age will also now be permitted.

With respect to fertilizers and animal foods, the regulations have been broadened somewhat to prohibit the importation of these products if they contain ingredients derived from any ruminant animals. This is consistent with OIE guidelines.

Canada is not stopping there. CFIA is also developing a broader international import policy that will apply to imports from all countries. It will further illustrate Canada's commitment to updating Canada's import requirements based on the new North American standard and OIE guidelines, both of which are consistent with recognized scientific evidence related to BSE. The CFIA will be providing more information related to this new import policy in the coming weeks.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency