Statement by Secretary Mike Johanns regarding U.S. classification by OIE:
"I'm pleased to report that the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has formally classified the United States as a controlled risk country for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). This classification confirms what we have always contended-that U.S. regulatory controls are effective and that U.S fresh beef and beef products from cattle of all ages can be safely traded due to our interlocking safeguards.
"In October 2006, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) submitted an application and supporting documents to OIE for review and formal classification for BSE risk. The controlled risk status classification we have received provides strong support from an internationally recognized, standard-setting body that the science-based mitigation measures in place in the United States effectively protect animal health and food safety.
"We appreciate OIE's review of our application, as well as its leadership in developing sound, science-based standards that will help countries standardize regulations and import requirements. The U.S. is taking action to achieve compliance with OIE standards and we ask the same of our trading partners.
"We will use this international validation to urge our trading partners to reopen export markets to the full spectrum of U.S. cattle and beef products. We are notifying our trading partners of our expectation that they commit to a timeframe to amend import requirements and expand access to their markets to reflect this controlled risk determination. We will use every means available to us to ensure that countries rapidly take steps to align their requirements with international standards."