The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a proposal to amend the regulations to allow the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina and Patagonia Region of Argentina, consisting of Patagonia South and Patagonia North
An APHIS risk assessment, conducted at the request of the government of Argentina, indicates that fresh (chilled or frozen) beef can be safely imported, provided certain conditions are met to ensure beef exported to the United States will not harbor the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). The assessment concluded that Argentina is able to comply with the U.S. import restrictions.
The comprehensive assessment, that included five site visits to Argentina to assess the country’s adequacy to effectively contain, eradicate and report an FMD outbreak, consisted of an in-depth evaluation of the 11 risk factors identified by APHIS as factors in assessing the risk of the relevant animal disease posed by a region. Two of the factors considered when assessing risk factors include, the region’s disease status and vaccination status.
The proposed rule to allow fresh/frozen beef from northern Argentina is based on this type of analysis. APHIS does not recognize countries or regions that continue to vaccinate against FMD as free of the disease. Since Northern Argentina continues to vaccinate for FMD, APHIS cannot recognize this region as free of FMD. However, APHIS can evaluate the risk presented by fresh/frozen beef products imported under specific conditions.
The Patagonia Region of Argentina does not vaccinate against FMD, therefore APHIS can recognize the region as free of FMD. The region will be added to the list of regions that are subject to certain restrictions designed to lessen the risk of introducing FMD into the United States, in accordance with APHIS regulations. These restrictions ensure that there is no commingling of products from regions with a lesser animal health status.
Once published in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to comment on the proposed rule and accompanying economic analysis and risk analysis.