Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today outlined the steps necessary to reopen the U.S. border to Canadian cattle under 30 months of age and other ruminants.
"We will move as expeditiously as possible to begin importing Canadian cattle, but we will do so very carefully to ensure the minimal risk rule criteria are clearly met," Johanns said. "We are coordinating very closely with other U.S. and Canadian government agencies to make certain the correct procedures are in place to properly inspect shipments and verify that our criteria are met."
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will issue Standard Operating Procedures to their field offices, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices.
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will issue an updated list of approved products that will be allowed across the border. The agency will also issue instructions to FSIS personnel who will inspect cattle received for immediate slaughter.
The process for importing shipments of live cattle and other ruminants, once the preparatory steps are complete, will begin in Canada.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will issue health certificates to verify the age and identification of the animal and ensure it meets the minimal risk rule criteria. Once verified, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will review the documentation and confirm the shipments are appropriate for entry into the United States. The animals will then be released to APHIS veterinarians at border inspection facilities who will inspect the cattle and validate the Canadian certification. Additionally, FSIS inspection personnel will verify U.S. requirements are met at the point of slaughter.