USDA Suspends Federal Rule Requiring Cattle to be TB-tested Prior to Movement in Some Areas

April 15, 2010 09:43 AM

A Federal Order has been issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to suspend enforcement of a portion of the bovine tuberculosis (TB) regulations in the U.S.
As a result many states have reduced their TB testing requirements for cattle moving out of Minnesota's Modified Accredited Advanced (MAA) Zone. Producers should contact the receiving state to verify shipping requirements prior to exporting cattle.
Under the Federal Order, USDA will have the authority to determine whether or not to downgrade a state's TB status based on a scientific analysis of risk. Previously, if two or more infected cattle herds that were not epidemiologically connected were found in a TB-Free state, that state would automatically lose their free status and be downgraded to Modified Accredited Advanced.
Under the new Federal Order, the USDA would have the option to downgrade the state's status depending on the risk of disease transmission as well as the efforts put forward by the state to eradicate the disease and conduct surveillance testing.
"This is a significant step towards restructuring the federal TB program and making informed decisions based on scientific risk instead of arbitrary standards,” said Minnesota Bovine TB Coordinator Joe Martin. "The Federal Order has the potential to save states as well as cattle producers thousands of dollars in testing costs. We applaud the USDAfor their work to expedite this federal order.”
The Federal Order will also suspend the federal rule requiring breeding cattle to be TB tested before leaving a Modified Accredited Advanced Zone. However, certain states may choose to maintain the TB test requirement for cattle being imported from Minnesota.
"South Dakota and Nebraska, both significant trading partners, have said that they will likely allow cattle coming from Minnesota's MAA Zone to be imported without first being TB-tested,” said Martin. "We would hope other surrounding states, like North Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin would also recognize the federal order and drop their testing requirements.”
Last year, USDA announced that it would be revising the national TB program to take a new approach to managing the disease. The agency is currently working on writing new rules, which will then be submitted for review and a public comment period. This is a meticulous process that can take a significant amount of time. The Federal Order is
considered by the USDA to be an ‘interim measure' which will be in place until the new rules are issued.
For additional information on Minnesota's bovine TB response, please call the hotline at 1-877- MN TB FREE (668-2373) or visit

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