May 29, 2013 / 8:26 PM / 4 years ago

U.S. gets top mad-cow rating from international group

WASHINGTON, May 29 (Reuters) - The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has upgraded the United States' risk classification for mad cow disease to "negligible" from "controlled," the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday.

OIE's move came at the group's annual meeting in Paris. The new ranking puts the United States among those countries said to have the lowest risk for the fatal, brain-wasting disease formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

The new risk category was a "strong foundation" for increasing U.S. beef and beef product exports, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. (Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Richard Chang)

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