Canada has introduced new safety measures to protect against mad cow disease, something the US said must happen before it considers lifting its ban on imports of beef from Canada.

Canada said brains and spinal cords would be removed during the slaughter of cattle over 30 months old, effective 24 July. Part of the small intestine from all cattle will also be removed and kept out of the food supply, Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief and Health Minister Anne McLellan told a news conference.

The decision is part of Canada’s attempts to convince other countries that its beef is safe. The US, Japan and several other countries have banned the import of Canadian beef since the discovery of a single case of mad cow disease in Alberta in May.

Vanclief said he expected to announce other safeguards “in the near future”. Those measures would include banning the use of spinal cord and brains in animal feed and monitoring the health of cattle more closely, a source told Reuters.

Vanclief also announced that Canada would reject applications for permits to bring beef products into Canada that are not part of normal North American Free Trade Agreement shipments until borders reopen.

“All applications received after 9 July 2003, for supplemental imports of beef and veal will normally be refused,” he was quoted by Reuters as saying. “We are doing this to ensure that our domestic suppliers have every opportunity to meet market demands even in areas they don’t usually supply.”