Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has amended regulations regarding the importation of animals and animal products from regions that present a minimal risk of introducing bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) into the U.S. Ten comments from the August 2006 published rule are reflected in the amendments, published in the Federal Register, Jan. 18, 2008. The following changes go into effect Feb. 19, 2008.
- Identification of live ruminants from BSE minimal-risk regions. Before arrival at the port of entry in the U.S., each bovine imported from a BSE minimal-risk region must be officially identified with unique individual ID that is traceable to the premises of origin of the animal. A similar identification requirement is stated for sheep and goats imported from Canada.
- Gelatin. No changes on the importation of gelatin derived from the hides of bovines from BSE minimal-risk regions.
- Processing of non-ruminant material. Nonruminant materials processed or stored in BSE minimal-risk regions would no longer need to be processed or stored in facilities separate from those used to process or store materials derived from ruminants from BSE minimal-risk regions -- the list and description of regions has been incorporated into this amendment.
- Tallow. Bovine-derived tallow imported from a BSE-minimal risk region must be composed of a maximum level of insoluble impurities of 0.15% in weight.
- Other concerns. APHIS stated, "We do not consider the diagnosis of BSE in several cows born after the establishment of the Canadian feed ban to be unexpected. Experience worldwide has demonstrated that, even in countries with an effective feed ban in place, BSE has occurred in cattle born after a feed ban was implemented. No regulatory effort can ensure 100% compliance. Isolated incidents, such as feed made from nonprohibited material being contaminated with prohibited material during processing, can occur due to human error. However, such isolated incidents are not epidemiologically significant when considered in light of the entire risk pathway and its attendant risk mitigations."