USDA Publishes Final Ruling on Regulation of Beef Imports

The new rule eases the regulation of beef imports in relation to Mad Cow Disease, making the United States fall more in line with international standards.

In a move that has been considered controversial by certain consumer groups, the USDA has released a ruling that will ease the regulations on beef imports, according to Food Safety News. The eased regulations are in regard to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as Mad Cow Disease.

The new rule ensures that the United States bases its import standards on "scientifically perceived risk of animals or animal products harboring the disease," which brings the United States in line with international standards. The USDA has stated that it believes the move modernizes U.S. beef import regulations, while consumer groups say the move will endanger both U.S. citizens and the cattle population.

The rules, according to Food Safety News, would potentially open beef imports from the European Union (as well as other previously closed markets), which have been restricted since the late 90s. In addition, the new rule ensures that some current restrictions on beef imports will be lifted in cases where the country "has a negligible risk for BSE.

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