National Cattlemen's Beef Association President-Elect Bob McCan, a cattleman from Victoria, Texas, made the following statement about notification received today from the Scientific Commission for the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) recommending that the United States' risk classification for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) be upgraded to negligible risk:
"This announcement by OIE's Scientific Commission is great news for U.S. cattle producers. The U.S. beef industry has worked with government officials and scientists to implement multiple interlocking safeguards to prevent BSE from taking hold in our country. The most important of these safeguards is the removal of specified risk materials or the parts of an animal that could contain the BSE agent should an animal have the disease from all animals presented for slaughter in the United States. Being classified as negligible risk for BSE by the OIE is proof that these safeguards are working and protecting the public and animal health against BSE."
"The safety of our cattle and our beef is the top priority for American beef producers. Recognition by OIE that our cattle and our beef are of the highest and safest quality is important in promoting U.S. beef in our growing export markets. We applaud USDA for working with the international scientific community and industry leaders on this issue."