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Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, Israel

Impact Worksheet, June 4, 2002

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Summary: A 10 year old cow from the Kibbutz Ortal in the disputed Golan Heights region of Israel was confirmed to have been infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) on June 4, 2002. The dairy cow was identified as having rabies-like clinical signs on May 28, 2002, and initial immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry tests conducted at the Kimron Veterinary Institute indicated BSE. Samples were sent for confirmation to the OIE reference laboratory in Bern, Switzerland and to the UK. Confirmation was received on 4 June 2002. Three other cows purchased at the same time as the infected cow from the same breeding farm and raised on the Kibbutz Ortal were tested also for BSE and results were negative.

Prior to the outbreak, USDA did not have trade restrictions on products from Israel relevant to BSE. Israel is not free of foot and mouth disease (FMD) and classical swine fever (CSF), therefore import restrictions have been in place regarding importation of live animals and some processed products. An interim rule is under development by the USDA to halt BSE related imports.

Israel exports minor amounts of live ruminants, ruminant meat or meat products. No category of ruminant exports from Israel accounted for more than 0.1 percent of world trade.

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How extensive is the disease in Israel, and what was Israel's disease status prior to the outbreak?

BSE IsraelA single 10 year-old dairy cow from a Kibbutz in the disputed Golan Heights area of Israel was identified as having clinical signs of BSE on May 28, 2002. Confirmation was provided by the OIE reference lab in Bern, Switzerland on June 4, 2002. Three other cows originally bought from the same farm as the infected cow and still in the same dairy herd were tested and found negative for BSE.

Prior to this case, BSE had not been identified in Israel. Israel has tried to prevent the introduction of BSE but relies on imported feed to maintain the Israeli livestock industry. In 1988 Israel banned meat-and-bone meal (MBM) imports from the UK and imports of MBM from all other countries were banned in 1990. A BSE monitoring and surveillance program was introduced in 1996 and includes testing of downer adult cattle and random sampling of healthy animals and suspect animals. The cow infected with BSE was tested routinely under the surveillance program.

Prior to the outbreak, USDA did not have trade restrictions on products from Israel relevant to BSE. Israel is not free of foot and mouth disease (FMD) and classical swine fever (CSF), therefore import restrictions have been in place regarding importation of live animals and some processed products. An interim rule is under development by the USDA to halt BSE related imports.

Source: OIE; ProMed

What is Israel's place in the international market for affected animals and animal products?

Israel had small stocks of cattle, sheep and goats in 2000 and 2001. Each herd was less than 0.1 percent of world stocks. Israel imports nearly 70 percent of its cattle, usually from Australia. Despite a ban imposed on the importation of live cattle from the UK in 1988, UK export information shows 256 bull calves and 1 live cow were exported to Israel in 1992.

Israel imposed a MBM import restriction for the UK in 1988 but MBM imports are not separately classified in trade data. The nearest equivalent trade data category "flours and meals of meat or offals (including tankage) unfit for human consumption; greaves" does show import activity through 1997 with 1,503 mt imported from the UK. It is not likely that these imports were MBM, as a ban on imports of MBM from the UK was imposed in 1988.

Table 1: Animal Stocks and Production, Israel, 2000 and 2001

2000

2001

Stocks (Head)

Stocks (Head)

% of World Production

Cattle

395,000

390,000

<0.1%

Sheep 1

380,000

389,000

<0.1%

Goats 1

75,000

68,000

<0.1%

Source: United Nations FAO; Israel Agricultural Ministry Statement

In 2000, Israel exported a small number of live cattle and sheep and no ruminant products have been exported since 1999. The cattle and sheep exported from Israel accounted for less than 0.1 percent of world trade in either species in 1999 or 2000. The FAO does not report any ruminant exports of meat or meat products after 1999, and in 1999, the value of ruminant meat exports from Israel was less than 0.1 percent of world exports.

Table 2: Exports of live animal and animal products, Israel, 1999 - 2000

Exports

1999

2000

% of World in 2000

quantity (# head or mt)

value (1000 $)

quantity (# head or mt)

value (1000 $)

quantity (# head or mt)

value (1000 $)

Cattle

20 7 57 20

<0.1%

<0.1%

Sheep

- 93 - 17 -

<0.1%

Beef and Veal, Boneless

- 3 - - -

<0.1%

Beef Preparations

- 1 - - -

<0.1%

Source: United Nations FAO

1 Sheep and goats were included as "affected" because USDA/APHIS includes all ruminants and ruminant products in its restrictions pertaining to BSE.

What are the U.S. imports of affected animals or animal products from Israel ?

The U.S. imported no live ruminants or ruminant meat from Israel since 1999. In 1999 a small amount of non-species specific meat and offal was imported and a small amount of fetal bovine serum (FBS) was also imported. FBS is considered to have a relatively low risk of transmitting BSE. Other imports from Israel during the period 1998-2001 included non-species specific preparations used in animal feeds and other non-food products of unspecified animals. For the category "preparations used in animal feeding, NESOI" that was imported into the U.S., it is possible that bovine meat or bovine byproducts could have been included in this category. However, the US Food and Drug Administration prohibits feeding of meat-and-bone meal to ruminants in the U.S.

Table 3: Relevant U.S. Imports from Israel, 1998-2001

HS Code

Description

Unit

1998

1999

2000

2001

Feed - non species specific

Total

2309909500

Preparations Used in Animal Feedings, NESOI

KG

Meat & offal- non species specific

Total

300110

Dried Organs

KG

Other animal products - ruminants

Total

3002100040

Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS)

KG

Source: World Trade Atlas

What is the level of passenger traffic arriving in the United States from Israel?

A total of 524,401 passengers arrived on direct flights to the U.S. from Israel in fiscal year 2000. This number does not include passengers who arrived in the U.S. from Israel via indirect flights.

Under APHIS-PPQ's agricultural quarantine inspection monitoring, 284 air passengers from Israel were sampled for items of agricultural interest in fiscal year 2001. Seven of these passengers, or 2 percent, carried a total of 11 kg of meat items that could potentially harbor the pathogen that causes BSE. None of these passengers from whom meat items were confiscated reported plans to visit or work on a ranch or farm during their visit to the U.S.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation and APHIS-PPQ Agricultural Quarantine Inspection data base.

CEI's plans for follow up:

At this time CEI has no plans to provide additional information on this subject. If you need more information, or if you want to comment on this worksheet, you may reply to this message, or contact Jennifer Grannis (970-494-7328) or Nancy Baker (970-494-7329).



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