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Jim Rogers (202) 690-4755

STATEMENT BY USDA CHIEF VETERINARY OFFICER JOHN CLIFFORD REGARDING CANADA'S SIXTH CASE OF BSE

July 5, 2006

“With the confirmation of a new BSE case in Manitoba, Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has invited the United States to participate in the epidemiologic investigation. Based on our confidence of the food safety measures in place in Canada and our previous audits of their system, we have determined that it is not necessary to send any U.S. experts to participate in the epidemiologic investigation at this time.

“We will review the information gathered through Canada’s epidemiological investigation but it is important to note that we have anticipated that there may be additional detections of BSE in Canada. These additional finds have already been factored into our current beef trading relationship with Canada and we do not expect that this latest case would cause any disruption to our trade in beef or beef products from Canada.

“USDA bases trade decisions on sound science and we are confident in Canada’s feed ban and their animal surveillance program. It was this animal health monitoring system that identified the infected animal as one that should be removed from the food and feed supply chain, ensuring food safety continues to be protected .

“Food safety, both in the United States and Canada, is protected by an interlocking system of firewalls, the most important being the removal of specified risk materials, those tissues that studies have demonstrated may contain the BSE agent in infected cattle.”

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