An application to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to change Northern Ireland’s BSE status from Controlled Risk to Negligible Risk has been submitted by Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen.

This means that the case for a changing in the status will be considered at the next OIE annual congress in Paris in May 2017.

The application to OIE by the DAERA Minister follows on from a public consultation on changing in BSE risk status in NI which closed to responses in June this year.

“There is considerable support for the view that if we could secure BSE Negligible Risk status, it could help improve our global image as a disease-free area and possibly provide access to new markets across the world for our premium exports,” Minister McIlveen said on Monday.


It has been previously said by industry representatives that access to new markets on the back of the change in BSE status could deliver up to £12m for the industry. Countries where BSE status remains a concern include China, USA, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.

The public consultation on the issue was carried out as the change in BSE status is also seen as a public health issue. “People can be assured that public safety is our number one consideration at all times,” Minister McIlveen said.

Northern Ireland is eligible to apply for negligible-risk status as the last case of BSE here in 2012 was in a cow born more than 11 years ago.

Under the rules, England and Wales are not eligible to apply until 2020 and Ireland isn’t eligible to apply until 2021. Scotland is eligible to apply now and a consultation on an applying for the change in BSE status is currently ongoing.

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