Australia ending B.S.E. restrictions

by Bryan Salvage
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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Following an independent review, Australia’s beef import restrictions implemented to prevent the potential spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (B.S.E.) will end March 1, 2010, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

According to John Matthews, the epidemiological researcher professor who reviewed the beef-import restrictions for Australia’s government, the risk of cattle being infected by B.S.E. remained "extremely low". Better testing will allow beef to be traded safely, added Jim Bishop, Australia's chief medical officer.

In announcing the government would adjust its import food policies, Simon Crean, Trade Minister, Health Minister Nicola Roxon and Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said in a joint statement that nations with confirmed B.S.E. cases have since changed the way they managed beef herds and food production since 2001, which "has allowed countries to trade beef and beef products safely."

Countries with confirmed B.S.E. cases, such as Britain, have been banned from exporting beef to Australia since 2001. Australia’s government said the new policy adjustments would not affect Australian food standards requiring beef products to be B.S.E.-free.

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