USCA comments on Namibia’s eligibility to export meat products to U.S. |

USCA comments on Namibia’s eligibility to export meat products to U.S.

The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) submitted official comments today on the proposed rule issued by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), “Eligibility of Namibia to Export Meat Products to the United States”. The proposal, which was issued on September 18, 2015, would add Namibia to the list of countries eligible to export meat products to the United States.

USCA submitted comments opposing the addition of Namibia to this list, focusing on the potential risk of foot and mouth disease (FMD) impacts to the U.S. as a result of Namibia’s proximity to FMD-affected regions. Angola, Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa all border Namibia and of these regions, only South Africa and Southern Botswana have been classified as FMD-free without vaccination.

USCA cited significant concerns related to the proximity of Namibia to regions facing ongoing FMD issues. Specifically, as referenced in the USCA comments and stated in a recent OIE report, “According to the World Organization for Animal Health, there are no enforceable barriers between Namibia and Angola, with Angola having declared several recent cases of FMD outbreaks.”

USCA President Danni Beer, Keldron, SD, commented, “The significance of this statement is made most apparent in images from Namibia displaying wildlife literally trampling through the current “barriers” in place between the two countries. The Meat Board of Namibia’s own study noted this issue in stating, “These risks arise predominantly from the possibility of infected animals, both wild and domestic, entering the export zone by crossing the fencing system that protects the north-east region of the country.” The fact that we would be asked to rely on a physical barrier to protect against FMD entering the US via any exports allowed is unacceptable.”

Beer concluded, “The notice by FSIS to add Namibia to the list of countries eligible for export of meat products to the U.S. goes directly against concerns raised by the industry in recent years regarding such proposed notices for changes in trade with regions sensitive to FMD impacts. The safety of our domestic herd must remain the focus of the Administration and we ask FSIS to withdraw the proposed notice.”