USDA considers Uruguay sheep meat imports
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has proposed to amend regulations to allow, under certain conditions, the import of fresh (chilled or frozen) sheep meat from Uruguay.
The agency said the regulations would continue to protect U.S. agriculture from an introduction of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) from the South American country.
At the request of Uruguay's Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, APHIS conducted a risk assessment and site visit. The agency concluded that Uruguay has in place the veterinary infrastructure to detect and eradicate an FMD outbreak if necessary.
Also, imported sheep meat would be subject to other regulations, such as movement restrictions, inspections, removal of potentially affected parts and a maturation process.
FMD is a highly contagious viral disease that is only rarely transmitted to humans. APHIS has a strong system in place for detecting and responding to outbreaks of foreign animal diseases and places trade restrictions on affected regions to protect against the introduction of any disease of concern.
The agency will accept comments related to the proposed rulemaking through April 25. For more details, access the Federal Register notice.