The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has recognised Ireland as having a negligible risk for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the lowest country risk status possible.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue welcomed the decision today (Thursday, May 27th).
He hailed the reinstatement of Ireland’s negligible BSE risk status “as a ringing endorsement of Ireland’s robust animal health, food and feed safety controls”.
“It is a testament to the commitment, expertise and dedication of all stakeholders, who have invested enormous efforts over the years to control and eradicate this disease. I am hopeful that this announcement will support our world-class beef farmers and the wider sector.”
The recognition was adopted by resolution of the World Assembly of Delegates of the OIE at the organisation’s 88th General Session.
Minister McConalogue noted that “today’s announcement marks the culmination of six years of diligent preparation by my department”.
He went on to say that the next step in the process is to give practical and legal effect to the OIE decision at EU level.
He said this allows a significant reduction in the list of certain tissues derived from bovines which have to be systematically disposed of as specified risk material.
New trade opportunities for beef
Minister of State Martin Heydon T.D., who has specific responsibility for market access, said, “This is very welcome news in terms of my ongoing efforts and those of my department to gain access to new markets and to retain existing market access for our beef exports.”
“I, along with my officials, will immediately be highlighting this very positive development to the relevant competent authorities in key international markets.”
“The OIE decision is an important further endorsement of the reputation of Ireland’s animal health controls internationally.”
“I hope that today’s announcement will assist in opening new trade opportunities for the safe, quality produce from our beef farmers.”