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Karen Eggert (301) 734-7280
Jerry Redding (202) 720-6959 

Statement by Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Regarding BSE Find in Canada
January 23, 2006 

“Today Canada announced that a nearly-6-year-old cow in Alberta, Canada, has tested positive for BSE. The Government of Canada is currently conducting an epidemiological investigation to identify, among other things, the source of this animal’s feed and other animals that may have been exposed to that feed.”

“As Secretary Johanns mentions in his statement, USDA remains confident in the animal and public health measures that Canada has in place to prevent BSE, combined with existing U.S. domestic safeguards and additional safeguards outlined in the final rule recognizing Canada as a Minimal-Risk Region for BSE. Under this rule, USDA allows the importation of live cattle under 30 months of age for feeding and immediate slaughter, as well as beef and other products from animals under 30 months of age.”

“In the extensive risk analysis conducted as part of the rulemaking, we considered the possibility of additional cases of BSE in Canada . USDA’s minimal-risk criteria are designed to consider an individual country’s specific situation and to analyze the risk based on the overall effectiveness of actions taken by the country to prevent the introduction and spread of BSE. In addition, the overall risk assessment also considered measures in place in the United States to prevent spread of the disease if it were introduced.”

"The mitigation measures that Canada has in place to protect public health are effective. In Canada , as in the United States , animals that are exhibiting neurological or other signs that could be consistent with BSE are targeted for testing, and product from such animals is excluded from the human food and animal feed chains. In the case of this animal, preliminary information from Canada indicates that no meat or other product from this animal entered the human food or animal feed chains."

"When Canadian cattle are presented for importation into the United States , they become subject to domestic safeguards as well. This includes removal of specified risk materials—the parts of the animal that can harbor the BSE agent—which include the distal ileum, a small part of the intestine, and tonsils in beef under 30 months. In addition, beef imports that have already undergone Canadian inspection are also subject to re-inspection at ports of entry to ensure that only eligible products are imported.”

“USDA and Food and Drug Administration officials are and will remain in close contact with our Canadian counterparts as they proceed with their investigation.”

 

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