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U.S. Beef Imports Allowed Once Again

December 17, 2004

COSTA Rica’s ban on U.S. beef isover, although bovine imports from theUnited States must meet rigorous healthstandards, Foreign Trade Ministry spokeswomanAna Jiménez told The Tico Timesthis week.Authorities in Costa Rica, along with14 other countries, banned the importationof U.S. beef in December 2003 followingthe discovery of a Holstein cow inYakiama, in the state of Washington,infected with Mad Cow Disease, the commonname for Bovine SpongiformEncephalopathy (BSE). BSE is a degenerative,fatal disease that affects the centralnervous system of adult cattle.While BSE affects only cattle, a variantof the disease, Creutzfeldt-JakobDisease (CJD), can appear in humans whoeat contaminated beef (TT, Jan. 16).Jiménez said Costa Rica approved theimportation of U.S. bovine products undercertain conditions in May, after the UnitedStates presented scientific proof to theWorld Organization of Animal Healthshowing that the Washington case was notindigenous to the area.The products that can now be importedare subject to several restrictions,Jiménez said. Only boneless meat fromanimals under 30 months old, from farmsthat are USDA-certified and approved bythe Animal Health Administration of Costa Rica, can be imported.

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