BROOKINGS, S.D. - South Dakotans need not react with fear when eating beef, says Dr. Russ Daly, South Dakota State Public Health Veterinarian, in response to the recent Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) case discovered in California.
"Because of restrictions put into place in the early 2000s, there is nothing to worry about from a food safety perspective," said Daly, who also serves as the SDSU Extension Veterinarian. "Even in the extremely rare event an animal is affected with BSE, there are only certain portions of a carcass that carry the infection. Those portions, such as brain and spinal cord, have been eliminated from the human and animal food chain for more than decade now."
State Veterinarian, Dr. Dustin Oedekoven, echoes Daly's confidence.
In an April 25 release from the South Dakota Animal Industry Board, Oedekoven explains that the finding of this atypical BSE case is similar to those spontaneous cases identified in 2005 in Texas and 2006 in Alabama, and is no reason for concern because atypical BSE is not a contagious disease and is not known to be associated with contaminated livestock feed, as is the case with classical BSE.
"It is important to know that this animal did not enter the food or feed supply," Dr. Oedekoven said. "The U.S. beef supply is safe, and this finding has no impact on the health of the nation's cattle herd. The surveillance system in place is working."
He adds that an announcement from USDA suggests that this finding will not affect the United States' BSE status, as determined by the World Organization for Animal Health, also known as OIE.
This is reassuring news for South Dakota consumers and cattle producers, says Keith Underwood, the SDSU Extension Meat Specialist.
"It's important to know that the USDA and the meat industry as a whole, have been vigilant to ensure that portions of the carcass which may contain BSE are removed, at risk animals are tested, and animals that have this disease do not enter the food chain," Underwood said. "The system works and this shows that the U.S. beef supply is safe."