Agriculture minister Michelle McIlveen has submitted an application to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) for BSE Negligible Risk status for Northern Ireland.
Currently Northern Ireland has Controlled Risk status, as does Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
Michelle McIlveen said: “The department has worked closely with industry representatives on this issue. 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.”
The minister continued: “Although we are keen to support any initiative which might have the potential to drive export growth, we have ensured that the views of other stakeholders, including retailers and consumers, have been considered through the consultation process.
“I have also involved the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency in this proposal from an early stage in order to get the best possible advice from a public health perspective. People can be assured that public safety is our number one consideration at all times.”