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The United States and Canada have both been given “controlled risk” status by the World Organization For Animal Health, a move that says both nations have successfully managed the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) outbreaks within their borders. Officials in both countries hope they can parlay the shift into a wedge they can use to get other nations to accept beef imports without fear of mad cow disease.

US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said in a prepared statement: "We will use this international validation to urge our trading partners to reopen export markets to the full spectrum of U.S. cattle and beef products."

And, Johanns said: "We are notifying our trading partners of our expectation that they commit to a timeframe to amend import requirements and expand access to their markets to reflect this controlled risk determination. We will use every means available to us to ensure that countries rapidly take steps to align their requirements with international standards."
KC's View:
We suspect that some places will view this change in status as utter bull.

When we were in Japan last year, we were told by executives at Aeon, the nation’s biggest food retailer, that they had no interest in selling US beef because consumers their did not trust it. And they did not trust it because, in their view, the US is far less comprehensive in its testing and record-keeping than other places. And from what we saw of Aeon’s own transparency efforts, we would tend to agree.

All the status changes in the world aren’t going to change consumers’ minds in places like Japan, where virtually the only two companies selling US beef are Wal-Mart and Costco. And we continue to believe that US officials simply don’t get it.