In November, the USDA announced a final rule that will align the Agency’s import regulations for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or “mad cow disease”) with international standards. According to a USDA November news release, the final regulation will allow for the safe trade of bovines and bovine product, while still protecting the U.S. from the introduction of BSE. Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow praised the new rule by stating, "I applaud USDA's actions to make sure that American's beef producers have access to new export markets…This effort is crucial to breaking down other countries' unfounded trade barriers, and re-opening trade markets that are closed to U.S. beef. American agriculture has long set the gold standard food production. [These] actions will ensure U.S. beef producers can operate on a more level playing field and help grow our agriculture economy."