Since its founding in 1924, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has facilitated safe trade in animals and animal products by developing effective standards to prevent the spread of animal diseases across the globe. A protocol for recognising the disease-free status of countries is an integral part of this process and has been adopted and advanced through the years to assist OIE Member Countries in placing disease-free animals and their products on the international market. Options such as trade from disease-free zones and disease-free compartments are now available to Members and have proven to be a positive mechanism for facilitating trade. A further option is trading in safe commodities, i.e. animals and animal products that have been identified as safe to trade even in the presence of disease, either with or without applying risk mitigation measures before export. Although most Members have incorporated the acceptance of disease-free countries or zones into their animal health policies and sanitary measures, there still appears to be a reluctance to trade in commodities from infected countries, despite clear, scientifically based risk management standards that can be applied if needed. This paper offers some examples reflecting the apparent reluctance to trade in commodities and discusses how the standards in the OIE’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code could be used to apply scientifically based risk management practices to review outdated policies.
BSE – Bovine spongiform encephalopathy – Commodity – Deboned beef – Developing country – Encephalopathies – Foot and mouth disease – Risk management.