Canada, the US and Mexico are calling for the International Animal Health Code Commission to update its standards for dealing with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, in order to form the basis for trade policies.

The request is aimed at reducing the impact of the disease on trade, after several countries, including the US and Mexico, banned imports of Canadian beef following the discovery of a single case of mad cow disease in May.

The three countries asked the Paris-based Office International des Epizooties, or World Organisation for Animal Health, particularly its International Animal Health Code Commission, to update its standards for dealing with the disease so that a science-based trade response to outbreaks of BSE could be formed, reported Dow Jones International News.

“We’re asking them to make much more visible to countries the fact that these standards exist, they have been endorsed by the scientific community, and they should be used to formulate trade policy,” Brian Evans, chief veterinary officer for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said Thursday.

The single case of BSE in Canada is estimated to have cost the country’s beef industry more than $250m. The US has partially lifted its ban, but does still not allow live cattle imports.

“The recent single BSE case in Canada has had an enormous adverse economic impact even though strong safeguards are in place,” says the request to OIE director general Bernard Vallat. “The critical need for an internationally agreed upon science-based trade response calls for an international dialogue to develop a more practical, risk-based approach to trade.”