Before BSE was detected in an imported Canadian cow in December of 2003, Panama was a growing market for U.S. cattle exports. Panama's importation of cattle from the U.S. in 2003 was double what was imported the previous three years combined. However the rapid expansion of U.S. exports to Panama came to a screeching halt in December.
Nearly four years after stopping imports of U.S. cattle, Panama has decided to begin allowing imports of all ages of U.S. cattle. The move is a result of the World Organization for Animal Health's classifying the U.S. as a controlled risk country for BSE earlier this year.
Cindy Smith, administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says this decision shows confidence in the science-based safeguards to protect animal health and food safety that the U.S. has in place.