The European Commission is set to propose the formal adoption of Ireland’s bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) Eradication Programme in the coming weeks, Agriland understands.

The Irish government recently submitted the programme to the commission for an assessment, which it has passed.

However, the eradication plan will only be considered formally approved once it is included in the Commission Implementing Regulation 2021/620, which deals with disease eradication and disease-free status.

The plan will also have to be formally listed in the Official Journal of the EU before it is considered fully approved.

The commission will propose an amendment to the implementing regulation for a vote on June 9 or 10, in the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF Committee).

The Irish BVD Eradication Programme is set to be included in this amendment.

It is understood that, if passed at this stage, Ireland’s programme could be formally adopted by the commission in early July, though this timeframe is not set in stone.

In a statement to Agriland, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said: “We have submitted an application for official recognition by the EU of our current official BVD control programme and we are hopeful that this will be approved shortly.

“This is one of the last steps in the process towards BVD-free status,” the spokesperson added.

Ireland does not necessarily need to have zero cases of BVD to be considered free of the disease. A threshold incidence rate is used to determine status, and Ireland will have to be within this threshold and remain within it to achieve and retain free status.

This threshold requires 99.8% of establishments representing 99.9% of the bovine population to be free of BVD at any given time.

This figure refers to the whole national herd, and not just calves.

If this threshold is applied to the current number of herds in Ireland, the maximum number of herds that can have a case or cases of BVD for Ireland to be considered free of the disease would be between 200 and 300 at any one time.

It is understood that Ireland is not yet meeting this criteria, and thus cannot apply for BVD-free status at the present time.

However, sources have also indicated that animal health stakeholders are aiming to obtain this status for Ireland in early 2023.