The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D., has welcomed the recent announcement by the World Health Organisation (OIE) that its Scientific Commission for Animal Disease has concluded that Ireland now fulfils the requirements to be recognised as having a negligible risk for BSE.
The announcement, which comes in accordance with the OIE Code, followed an evaluation of a detailed submission made by the Department of Agriculture to the OIE last autumn. The OIE’s Scientific Commission has recommended this recognition be submitted for endorsement by the OIE World Assembly of Delegates at the 88th General Session in May 2021.
The Minister stated that, “This is a most welcome and very significant step forward towards Ireland achieving negligible risk status in respect of BSE, affirming the robustness of the Ireland’s animal health, food and feed safety controls and providing further independent affirmation in the international market place of the strength of Ireland’s control systems.”
Minster McConalogue said two further steps are needed before this status is officially recognised. Firstly, a 60-day period within which all 182 member countries of the OIE may request any information substantiating this decision should they wish to do so and, secondly, that the proposal receive a favourable vote at the General Assembly of the OIE in May.
The Minster concluded by saying that, “Whilst we must await the outcome of these two final stages in the process but I am optimistic and hopeful for our world-class beef farmers and the wider sector. We can look forward with reasonable confidence towards achieving this status which reflects very significant commitment by all stakeholders, ably led by officials in my Department. Negligible risk status will support our continued efforts around international market access and assist in opening new trade opportunities in respect of Irish beef products.”