Friday, December 20, 2019

Canada missed BSE deadline

Canada missed an opportunity to improve its Bovine Spongiform (BSE) status with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), but federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said she’s aiming for next spring.

The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) is criticizing the federal government for missing the deadline and said it’s costing Canadian beef producers any opportunities for better prices from United States packers and opportunities to market beef to South Korea.

CPC agriculture critic John Barlow called it a “stunning setback” for farrmers.

Canada is currently listed alongside Ecuador, Greece, Ireland, Chinese Taipei, France and Ireland as having a “controlled” BSE risk. A longer list of countries is listed as having a negligible BSE risk, including Argentina, Brazil and the United States.

Countries are encouraged to review their risk assessment annually to help OIE determine if their situation has changed and a new designation is warranted.

Having a “negligible” risk as opposed to a “controlled” risk is more favourable, and according to Barlow, would open up new markets because certain countries — such as South Korea — will not import beef from a country that does not have a negligible risk designation.

“We’re asking if (the federal government) can get an exemption and apply right away, even though we’ve missed that deadline, and maybe there’s some way we can expedite the application process,” said Barlow.

Bibeau said the Liberal government knows how important it is to the beef sector to be granted negligible risk status and that her officials are, “working with the beef sector to develop a strong submission to the World Organization for Animal Health for spring 2020.”