Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the United States’ risk classification for bovine spongiform encephalopathy — also known as mad cow disease — has been recommended for an upgrade to negligible risk. The announcement came as part of the keynote address during the Agricultural Outlook Forum, held Feb. 21-22 in Arlington, Va.
Vilsack received the information from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that recommended the classification be changed based on the actions taken to manage risk of the disease. The OIE Code, which is based on the latest science and current knowledge concerning BSE, provides guidelines for the safe trade of animals and products based on the country’s risk status and the risk presented by the specific item being traded. Negligible risk is the lowest risk level under the OIE Code.
“This is a significant achievement for the United States, American beef producers and businesses, and federal and state partners who work in coordination to maintain a system of three interlocking safeguards against BSE that protect our public and animal health,” said Vilsack.
Actions taken include instituting a strong ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban, strictly controlling imports of animals and animal products from countries at risk for the disease, and conducting appropriate surveillance. Learn more.