The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that amended 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
In response, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association is concerned that the proposal would present a significant risk to the health and well-being of the U.S. cattle herd through the possible introduction of FMD virus
"FMD is an extremely contagious viral disease of cloven-hooved animals and many wildlife species. This disease is considered to be one of the most economically devastating livestock diseases in the world and an outbreak of FMD could ultimately threaten the entire U.S. economy as well jeopardize our national food security,” said NCBA president Bob McCan. "APHIS conducted their risk analysis based on a series of site visits to Argentina to determine the FMD risk status of these regions. NCBA’s repeated requests for written reports for these APHIS site visits to Argentina have gone unanswered. Finally, we were informed by APHIS that written reports are not required for APHIS site reviews. This lack of documentation and an obvious lack of management controls for the site review process calls into question the integrity and quality assurance for the entire risk analysis. Valid science-based decisions are not possible in this flawed system.
Furthermore, he added, "It is evident that APHIS has charged blindly forward in making this announcement, ignoring the findings of a third-party scientific review identifying major weaknesses in the methodology of the risk analysis that formed the foundation for the APHIS decision-making process. The third-party scientific review uncovered deficiencies in the APHIS hazard analysis and the exposure assessment, as well as an overly subjective qualitative format for the risk analysis.”
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.