FOOD AND HEALTH ESSENTIALS

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U.S. lifts ban on raw beef from France

In a separate action the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has lifted a nearly 20-year ban against the importation of raw beef products from France.

The ban against raw beef product from France was initiated in 1997, following the widespread outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and subsequent restrictions imposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the FSIS, France requested in 2014 that the right to export raw beef products to the U.S. be reinstated based the country being reclassified as a "controlled risk" for BSE by the World Organisation of Animal Health.

The FSIS decision to lift the ban followed an extensive review of France’s documented inspection programme, and an on-site verification audit by FSIS inspectors of that country’s beef slaughter system during August and September, 2015. As a result of the review and inspection, the FSIS has found that France has implemented a raw beef inspection programme equivalent to the FSIS’s own inspection system in the U.S.

In a statement released in mid-January, the European Commission applauded the FSIS decision, noting that it "further illustrates that the European Union’s efforts to eradicate BSE from its territory have been successful."

The text of the FSIS Notice lifting the ban against raw beef originating from France is available here.

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