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Karen Eggert   (301) 734-7280
Jerry Redding  (202) 720-4623

STATEMENT BY DR. RON DEHAVEN REGARDING OIE RISK RECOMMENDATION

March 9, 2007

“In October 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture submitted an application and supporting documents to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to formally request country classification for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) risk. The OIE undertakes a thorough review process before recommending a risk classification, and then provides an opportunity for all delegate countries to review the recommendations and present comments prior to final adoption of a country’s classification at the OIE’s General Assembly meeting in May.

“While we recognize that a final classification decision will not be made by the OIE until May, we feel it is important to be responsive to questions we are now being asked about the risk classification recommended for the United States. The OIE Scientific Commission has endorsed  the recommendation from an OIE expert panel that the United States be classified as “controlled risk” for BSE.  

“The controlled risk classification recognizes that OIE-recommended, science-based mitigation measures are in place to effectively manage any possible risk of BSE in the cattle population.  This recommendation provides strong support that U.S. regulatory controls are effective and that U.S cattle and products from cattle of all ages can be safely traded in accordance with international guidelines, due to our interlocking safeguards. 

“The OIE risk classification process is an essential step in promoting trade and understanding of this disease. We appreciate OIE’s review of our application, as well as its leadership in developing sound, science-based guidelines that will help countries standardize regulations and import requirements.   We look forward to the final adoption of this classification, which will be announced at the OIE meeting in May.”

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