August 10, 2006


USDA relaxes rules on pork and poultry imports from Canada



The USDA proposed on Wednesday (Aug 9) to allow imports of Canadian poultry and pork processed at plants that also handle cattle.


Current regulations requires that Canadian meat products from poultry and pigs come from facilities separate from those processing ruminant animals such as cattle.


The department said as poultry and pork products are less susceptible to mad cow disease, it was "inconsistent" to have them processed in a separate facility.


Another change would allow bovines, sheep and goats imported from Canada to be identified by other ways such as tattoos in addition to an ear tag. The earlier rule specified an ear tag because that is the required means of identification under Canada's national livestock identification program.


The public has until Oct 10 to comment.


The changes come two weeks after USDA halted a proposal to allow imports of older Canadian cattle after a recent case of mad cow disease in Canada.

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