STC Number - 44

Measures related to BSE

Maintained by: United States of America
Raised by: European Union
Supported by: Argentina; Chile; New Zealand; Switzerland
First date raised: March 1998 G/SPS/R/10, paras. 10-12
Dates subsequently raised: June 1998 (G/SPS/R/11, paras. 43-44)
Number of times subsequently raised: 1
Relevant documents: G/SPS/GEN/66, G/SPS/N/USA/106
Products covered: 02 Meat and edible meat offal
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Food safety; Human health; International Standards / Harmonization; Zoonoses
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In March 1998, the European Communities complained that recent US measures were neither in conformity with the SPS Agreement nor with the OIE, and were singling out Europe. The European Communities rejected US claims that inadequate surveillance in relation to BSE was a problem within the European Communities and indicated that the European Communities was about to introduce a harmonized surveillance system. The United States replied that it was receiving numerous comments to its interim measure, which was intended to protect animal and consumer health from BSE in light of the unclear information on the distribution of BSE on the European continent. Trade would resume when the countries in question had systems that met US criteria. The United States would evaluate the data submitted, and would take the necessary measures based on science and risk assessment. Argentina noted that BSE was a European problem with important potential consequences for the rest of the world, and that it required a joint effort of political and scientific authorities to find a solution based on the available knowledge to avoid unnecessary trade disruption.
In June 1998, the European Communities drew attention to the recent OIE indication that when a country had no native cases of BSE and surveillance systems were in place for seven years, trade in meat could take place. The OIE also provided the basis on which trade could take place with countries of low incidence of BSE. The criteria on which US decisions would be based were still not clear to the European Communities. The United States announced that comments and information received were being incorporated into the risk assessment, taking into account the discussions in the OIE framework. The updated rule would soon be published and notified, and responses would be provided to all comments received.