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Benefits likely in official BSE freedom status

24 May 2006

Trade benefits likely in official BSE freedom status

In Paris last night, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) unanimously approved New Zealand as a country free of BSE (along with Australia, Argentina and Uruguay)

"The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has just confirmed what New Zealand has always known, officially granting freedom status from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)," Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton said today.

BSE is also known as “mad cow disease”.

“New Zealand has never had a case of BSE, but on issues of animal health that impact on trade, it is the standards of the OIE that the World Trade Organisation is guided by. This is good news for New Zealand overseas trade," Mr Anderton said.

“This means fewer barriers for our products. Countries that are not recognised as BSE free must exclude certain tissues from all manufacturing, and they become waste instead of useful products. This includes products like gelatin and biopharmaceutical products. Biopharmaceuticals is an area where New Zealand’s freedom from many other diseases offers significant opportunity.

“This decision also represents a large amount of hard work by many Government officials, and they are to be congratulated. That work dates back to 1990, when BSE surveillance was first established.

The recommendation to approve New Zealand’s BSE freedom was circulated in early March to the 167 OIE member countries with 60 days to comment. No comment was received.

ENDS

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