STC Number - 317

Mexico's BSE measures

Maintained by: Mexico
Raised by: Canada
Supported by: European Union
First date raised: June 2011 G/SPS/R/63, paras. 14-16
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: Raised orally; RD/SPS/28/Rev.1
Products covered:
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Food safety; Human health; Zoonoses
Status: Resolved
Solution: Information was received from Canada on the resolution of this STC.
Date reported as resolved: 02/11/2017

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In June 2011, Canada recalled that since 2003, Canada had requested that Mexico accept beef imports from cows over 30 months old. In 2007, the OIE recognized Canada as a "controlled" BSE-risk country and the status has since been reconfirmed every year. In 2008, Mexico too was recognized as a "controlled" BSE-risk country. Canada had engaged with Mexico at all levels concerning this issue. On 12 June, Mexico shared a technical report which highlighted the basis of Mexico's current decision, however Canada did not consider that this report provided scientific evidence to support Mexico's measure. Canada requested Mexico's participation in an high-level technical meeting to further discuss scientific evidence on BSE-related measures.

The European Union shared the concerns raised by Canada as Mexico also continued to impose BSE-related import restrictions on beef and beef products from EU member States with controlled risk status. As Mexico allowed imports of beef and beef-related products from other similarly categorized countries, these restrictions appeared to be discriminatory. The United States also urged Mexico to base its BSE import requirements on science, consistent with the OIE standards for "controlled" risk countries, as a zero risk standard was both unworkable and inappropriate.

Mexico indicated that it had provided a technical report to Canada on 10 June 2011, which provided details on the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease-related risks of eating of meat from cattle over 30 months old. The technical report referred to information that had been provided by Canada in a report dated 23 July 2003. The Canadian report highlighted that in spite of the removal of high-risk tissue from BSE-infected animals, there still remained some risk to the consumer. The risk analysis provided by Canada had been based on cattle that were less than 30 months old, and Mexico had requested a risk analysis on animals older than 30 months. However, Canadians apparently did not consume meat from cattle older than 30 months, as was stated in a Canadian Medical Association Journal article dated 9 November 2010, presented at the March Committee meeting. Mexico's technical report highlighted that some countries were found to have a higher incidence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease due to the consumption of meat that had been infected with BSE, and Canada was ranked number eight in the occurrence of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. According to a Canadian Ministry of Health meeting on 26 August 2010, Canada had not at that time established the origin of the disease. Mexico stressed that its risk analysis did not require the complete absence of BSE, and Mexico was willing to continue to work on this issue bilaterally with Canada.

In November 2017, the Secretariat informed that in September 2017 it had contacted all Members who had raised specific trade concerns (STCs) that had not been discussed in the previous year, to request an update on their status. In furtherance of this request, information was received from Canada on the resolution of this STC. The Secretariat indicated that the information received had been circulated in document RD/SPS/28 of 31 October 2017 (RD/SPS/28/Rev.1 of 19/02/2018), and that the SPS IMS would be updated on this basis, using the date of the November 2017 SPS Committee meeting as the date of resolution of the relevant STCs.