STC Number - 154

Risk assessment on BSE

Maintained by: Uruguay
Raised by: Canada; United States of America
Supported by:
First date raised: November 2002 G/SPS/R/28, paras. 89-92
Dates subsequently raised: April 2003 (G/SPS/R/29, para.78, 81)
Number of times subsequently raised: 1
Relevant documents: G/SPS/N/URY/5/Rev.1
Products covered: 02 Meat and edible meat offal
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Food safety; Human health; International Standards / Harmonization; Risk assessment; Zoonoses
Status: Partially resolved
Solution: Resolved with Canada.
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

The United States observed that Uruguay had notified its adoption of the EC BSE geographical base risk approach for classifying countries. The United States recalled its BSE-free status and the Harvard risk assessment on BSE, and asked that Uruguay take these into account. Canada indicated that it was providing information to Uruguay which would confirm Canada's status as free of BSE. The European Communities noted that the EC risk classification on BSE was never intended to serve as the international norm. Members should continue efforts to develop OIE risk classifications in relation to BSE at the international level. The European Communities hoped an agreement would be reached in the OIE by June-July 2003.
Uruguay stated that it was highly dependent on animal product exports. If BSE appeared in Uruguay it would not only affect the health and life of people and animals, but would have an economically devastating effect. Uruguay had adopted the emergency measures due to the growing number of countries with BSE over the last year and the increased risk of introducing the disease into the country. According to OIE data, at the end of 2000 there were 12 countries with local outbreaks, while that figure currently stood at 22. Uruguay had adopted the risk assessment criteria established by the European Communities until such time as the OIE produced a list of countries classified in relation to BSE, and would review its legislation when the OIE finished its work in this area.
In April 2003, Canada reported that Argentina and Uruguay had agreed to undertake their own BSE risk assessment instead of relying on the EC BSE risk assessment as the basis for their BSE-related measures and classification of countries. Uruguay stated that it was dependent on meat related products for 8 per cent of its GDP. Since 1996, a number of emergency measures had been taken to ensure that BSE did not enter the country. In 2001, a decree was promulgated which would restrict food products on the basis of their BSE categorization. At the present time, this decree was suspended and bilateral discussions were ongoing. Information from both Canada and the United States was being reviewed and final categorization of both country's BSE status should be concluded within a short period of time.
In September 2004, Canada reported that the issue of Uruguay's BSE measures had been resolved with Uruguay.