WASHINGTON (AP) – Canadian cattle over 30 months of age will be allowed into the U.S. market starting Nov. 19, the Agriculture Department said Friday in expanding its current policy on mad cow disease.
In May 2003, the discovery of an Alberta cow with mad cow disease caused the United States to slam the border shut to cattle imports from Canada.
The border between the world’s largest trade partners reopened for Canadian beef from younger cattle within months of the original ban. Live cattle under the age of 30 months have been allowed to move across the border since July 2005.
Bruce Knight, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, said the change is firmly based in science and ensures that U.S. regulators will protect the country against the disease.
Eating meat products contaminated with mad cow disease, known scientifically as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, has been linked to more than 150 human deaths, mostly in Britain, from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
There have been three cases of mad cow disease in the U.S. The first, in December 2003 in Washington state, was in a cow that had been imported from Canada. The second, in 2005, was in a Texas-born cow. The third was confirmed last year in an Alabama cow. There have been 10 cases of mad cow disease in Canada.
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