Statement by John Clifford, Deputy Administrator Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service August 3, 2005

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, has determined that the non-definitive test result reported on July 27 is negative for BSE. Tests conducted by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, England, are also negative for BSE.

“NVSL and Weybridge conducted the additional testing after a non-definitive IHC test result was received last week. The initial non-definitive result was caused by artifactual (artificial or untrue) staining and, while this staining did not resemble BSE, we felt the prudent course was to conduct the additional tests.

“Needless to say, we are very pleased with these results. I do want to emphasize that the most important protections for human and animal health are our interlocking food-safety protocols. Our enhanced surveillance program is designed to provide information about the level of prevalence of BSE in the United States, which by any measure is extremely low."

Jim McAdams, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president and Adkins, Texas, cattleman

“The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced negative test results for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, also known as mad cow disease) in an animal with previous non-definitive test results. USDA announced non-definitive BSE test results Wednesday, July 27, 2005 for this animal.

“Using an internationally recognized BSE diagnostic test, the USDA has confirmed that the animal did not have BSE. 

“While this animal did not have BSE, the government indicates the enhanced surveillance program may identify additional cases. However, the interlocking firewall system, which includes a ban preventing any part of an animal that could carry BSE infectivity (such as brain and spinal cord) from entering the human food supply, continues to protect public and animal health from this disease. This process happens every day with every animal to ensure this diminishing disease has no affect on public health. In addition, science has shown BSE infectivity has not been found in beef, including steaks, roasts and ground beef.

“To protect our cattle, the most important measure undertaken is the FDA feed ban, which was championed by cattlemen and became mandatory in 1997. The feed ban prohibits feeding ruminant-derived protein to cattle. BSE is not contagious; the disease is only known to spread through contaminated feed so the feed ban breaks the cycle and helps assure the disease will be eliminated. 

“As America’s beef producers, our number-one priority has always been providing the safest beef in the world. Cattlemen, along with others in the beef chain, take pride and ownership in contributing a wholesome and safe beef supply to the worlds’ dinner tables. Our livelihood depends on it. That’s why we have worked for more than 15 years to build, maintain and expand the safeguards that today are protecting consumers and our cattle from BSE.” 

USDA APHIS, NCBA