The World Organisation for Animal Health – current and potential roles in safe international trade of bees and other insects


G. Torres, F. Diaz, Y. Okamura, S. Messori & J. Hutchison

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is the recognised intergovernmental standards setting organisation for animal health and welfare. The OIE has the mandate to support its members in the prevention of the spread of animal diseases of concern, as listed in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code (Terrestrial Code). Once a disease, infection or infestation is listed, national Veterinary Services have the obligation to regularly notify to the OIE the presence or absence of the listed disease.

In regard to insects, the scope of the Terrestrial Code limits its recommendations to preserve the health of bees (species of the genus Apis, extended to the genus Bombus and to the stingless bees for one disease). However, it does not include standards to mitigate the potential animal health risks associated to the international trade of other insects.

A description of the standards setting process and the review of the history of the standards for bee health highlights the resources and requirements to expand the scope of the Terrestrial Code to include recommendations for animal health risk mitigation measures for the safety of international trade in insects. On the other hand, any initiative to develop guidance on insect trade should include the OIE in its role as the sole global standard setting organisation on animal health and welfare matters. This aligns with the OIE commitment to a One Health approach.

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