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U.S.—Mexico Binational Committee for Tuberculosis, Brucellosis, and Cattle Fever Tick

Since 2008, the BNC meets bi-annually in both Mexico and the U.S.—during the annual meetings of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) in the U.S. in the spring, and the Confederacion Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas (CNOG) in Mexico in the summer.  The TB/Brucellosis Committee meetings and Boophilus spp. Tick Committee meetings are open to the public.  The topics generally discussed at these meetings include trace-back efforts, eradication program status updates, research programs, Mexican state reviews for TB accreditation and Boophilus spp. tick-free status recognition, interstate and inter-zone movement controls, law and regulation adequacy, import and export issues, and other areas of concern to the livestock industries of the U.S. and Mexico.  Available meeting minutes and agendas BNC meetings from 2013 to the present can be found below.

To reduce the risk of TB in imported cattle from Mexico, Texas excluded importation of Mexican Holstein crossbred steers and spayed heifers, in addition to Holstein steers and spayed heifers excluded due to a USDA requirement.  The concern about potential tuberculosis dissemination by dairy crossbred animals (physically indistinguishable from beef breeds) entering beef herds or feedlots led to the permanent identification of dairy-origin calves so that there would be no mistaking their lineage. 

In April 2001, APHIS established an interim rule recognizing all Mexican States as Accredited Preparatory; however, both countries agreed to develop a new document to replace the “Consensus Document”.  This “Waiver Condition Document”changed the three phases and requirements in the Consensus Document for the 11 criteria points contained in the APHIS VS regionalization docket of 1997, including the prevalence for each TB status according to the 1999 TB UM&R. The stated waiver was to allow Mexican States/zones to export neutered cattle with one negative individual TB test—or more if they had a herd prevalence above the MZ status (<0.1%).  In 2005 the waiver conditions document ended and a new document started to be developed.  

A 2007 Release Assessment (RA) reflects a portion of the evolution of U.S. import requirements of cattle from Mexico since the inception of the BNC and can be found here

Based on reviews in 20 Mexican states, the tuberculosis eradication program continues to progress in Mexico.  Some states are significantly more advanced in their programs than others.  Training is still needed to ensure accurate tuberculin testing, slaughter surveillance programs, and adequate epidemiology investigations.  Area testing must also be intensified to meet Stage 2 requirements of the Consensus Document.  For Mexico regionalization information as of May 2016, click here

The BNC has no authority to pass or implement regulations or procedural changes, however, it works closely with APHIS officials to provide input and recommendations in all phases of the eradication programs of both countries. 

  • Mission:  To coordinate efforts that will lead to the control and eradication of bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis, and Cattle Fever Ticks from the United States and Mexico.

The BNC is funded by its member organizations, along with other U.S. and Mexican Industry representatives such as the Western States Livestock Health Association (WSLHA), the National Farm Bureau (NFB), the National Cattlemen Beef Association (NCBA), the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB), and the National Milk Producers (NMP) in the U.S., and the National Confederation of Cattlemen (Confederacion Nacional Ganadera (CNG) in Mexico.

BNC, February 2013, Tampa, FL

BNC, May 2013, Queretaro, Mexico

BNC, February 2014, Nashville, TN

BNC, May 2014, Zacatecas, Mexico

BNC, February 2015, San Antonio, TX

BNC, May 2015, Veracruz, Mexico

BNC, January 2016, San Diego, CA

BNC, May 2016, Tijuana, Mexico

BNC, May 2017, Durango, Mexico

BNC, January 2018, Phoenix, AZ

BNC, May 2018, Monterrey, Mexico

Technical review teams, led by the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), and USDA/APHIS-Veterinary Services and -International Services, visited each Mexican state.  The teams included BNC members and other representatives of regulatory agencies and industry organizations.  The team examined records and observations of tuberculin testing, animal identification and inspection procedures at slaughter establishments (i.e., slaughter surveillance), and activities at animal health/movement inspection stations and laboratory activities.  With the help of an extensive questionnaire, an evaluation of the overall tuberculosis program in each state was made, with specific assessment of achievement of the Stage 1 and 2 requirements of the Consensus Document.

Stage 1 state status required the existence of the following six items:

  1. A functional state animal disease committee with State/Federal/industry representatives;
  2. A state regulatory authority to implement and enforce tuberculosis eradication efforts;
  3. An agreement between State/Federal governments and industry to accept the Norma Official Mexicana (NOM) (the Mexican federal regulation counterpart to the U.S. Uniform Methods and Rules for Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication) as the minimum state standard;
  4. Functional infrastructure of veterinary expertise and authority sufficient to apply all aspects of the tuberculosis eradication program;
  5. Initiation of systematic, organized, large-scale area testing and implementation of effective, reliable slaughter surveillance; and
  6. Implementation of educational aspects of the tuberculosis eradication program.

Stage 2 state status required the existence of the following six items:

  1. Livestock movement controls to prevent or control movement of cattle of unknown status, infected cattle, and exposed cattle into and within the state;
  2. Effective and reliable slaughter surveillance or other surveillance procedures (standards) approved by the BNC, which included the inspection of 75% of all cattle slaughtered, with one laboratory granuloma submission per 2,000 adult cattle or per 2,500 total cattle slaughtered;
  3. Effective trace-back capabilities to identify and locate suspicious herds targeted by surveillance, conduct epidemiological investigations of infected herds, and test epidemiologically-traced herds;
  4. A reasonably complete and accurate inventory and census of all owners and producers of cattle, and a functional record keeping system that provided the capabilities for a review of individual herd test and eradication activities and state program progress;
  5. Capabilities to verify and accredit herds as TB-free, and monitor these herds to assure that they continued to meet and maintain the standards of the NOM; and
  6. Area testing of at least 75% of all beef and dairy cattle for TB, or adequate area surveillance by other standards approved by the BNC.

After a review was conducted, a written report of the findings and recommendations of the review team was submitted to the BNC.  Based on this information, the BNC then voted on whether or not to approve the state for Stage 1 or 2 status.  This decision was passed on to the Border States Livestock Board, who agreed to accept the recommendations of the BNC.

Since June 1995, 20 Mexican states have been reviewed.  By 2000, nine states were Stage 2-approved states.  The major recommendations made to address these recurrent findings were the following: 

  1. Review tuberculin testing procedures;
  2. Intensify area testing;
  3. Improve and expand slaughter surveillance;
  4. Conduct thorough epidemiologic investigations;
  5. Address the tuberculosis problem in dairy herds; and
  6. Follow the NOM.

The BNC’s current strategic plan can be viewed here

The Binational Committee (BNC) for Tuberculosis was formed under the auspices of the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA) meeting of 1993 to provide a forum for the U.S. and Mexico to actively interact and address important issues that hamper TB eradication progress in Mexico.  Thus was born the BNC, which held its first meeting in 1993.  

The BNC was originally composed of 14 members, with equal membership from Mexico and U.S.—six of which represented the livestock industries of both countries:  one beef producer, one dairy producer and one general farm representative from each country; with the Chief Veterinary Officers from the U.S. and Mexico being co-chairs.  The remaining eight members represented regulatory animal health officials on state and federal levels, and the research community.  During the 1995 USAHA annual meeting, brucellosis activities were added to the BNC, which then became the Binational Committee for Tuberculosis and Brucellosis.  At that time, two more members were added to the roster, resulting in a total of 16 members with the inclusion of two brucellosis specialists.  Since its inception, the Committee added the eradication of Boophilus spp., or Cattle Fever Ticks, to its strategic plan, and additional members joined the BNC.  Today there are 18 members on the TB and Brucellosis Committee, and 16 on the Cattle Fever Tick Committee; however some members are actively involved in both Committees.  Today, governmental representation in the BNC includes members from APHIS’s Veterinary Services, International Services, and Wildlife Services; and from the Agricultural Research Services’ Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Laboratory.  Governmental representation from Mexico includes members from the Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASICA) (or the National Health Services, Food Safety and Food Quality), of the Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (SAGARPA) (or the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food).   

Consensus Document developed by officials from the four border states (Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas) in 1994, in response to Docket No. 93-014-1, Cattle from Mexico, provided for a phase-in, over time, of three stages (Control/Preparatory Phase, Eradication Phase and Free) of progressively stricter requirements for a bovine tuberculosis eradication program.  In order for a Mexican state to continue its eligibility to export steers and spayed heifers to the U.S., they would have to comply with the criteria for each stage.  The BNC would review every state's application for each stage and approve or remove official state status.  Annual state reviews, to determine compliance with the requirements and monitor program progress, would be conducted by tuberculosis technical personnel, under the direction of the BNC. 

For various reasons, Docket No. 93-014-1, Cattle from Mexico, was withdrawn in February 1995, without a substitute proposal being submitted at the time.  Meanwhile, the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oklahoma and Kansas adopted the Consensus Document as part of their bovine tuberculosis state regulations.  The new state regulations, effective March 1, 1995, gave the Mexican states until September 1, 1995, to fulfill the Stage 1 requirements of the Consensus Document.  Mexican states not meeting these standards by the deadline would be unable to move neutered cattle into the states that adopted the regulation.  The BNC, in support of these new state regulations, initiated individual reviews of the tuberculosis programs in the Mexican states that requested such reviews.

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