Friday, May 28, 2021

Canada’s BSE risk rating improves

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has improved Canada’s rating for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) to its safest level.

It means international beef trade can resume to pre-BSE status, yet individual countries can still decide whether and when they choose to recognize the improved status.

Most countries have allowed resumed beef and cattle imports from Canada.

It was May 20, 2003, when an Alberta cow that died was confirmed to be infected with BSE, often called mad cow’s disease.

Canada lost all beef and cattle exports then. Later the Canadian Food Inspection Agency required packing plants to dispose of any parts of cattle that could be infected with the prions responsible for the disease.

The trade and other impacts were devastating. One of the fallouts was a loss of a market for cull cows; that hit the dairy industry so hard that SEMEX bought a beef-packing plant in Kitchener to provide a market.