“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed on Jan. 2 that an Alberta dairy cow born in 1996 (prior to the feed ban) has tested positive for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). No part of the animal entered the human food or animal feed systems.

“This animal was identified as part of Canada’s BSE surveillance program. Both Canada and the United States began an enhanced BSE surveillance program to better assess the level of risk of BSE. In doing so, finding additional cases of BSE, especially in older animals, was not unexpected.

“To date, the United States has tested 158,754 animals for BSE beginning June 1, 2004, and has not found another U.S. case. 

“On Dec. 29, 2004, USDA announced the final rule to establish Canada as a “minimal risk region” for BSE which will resume imports of certain cattle and beef products from Canada to the United States. The subsequent finding of BSE in this animal should not have any bearing on the implementation of the rule scheduled for March 7, 2005.  This is an important step toward normalizing global trade, which increases profitability for America’s cattle producers.

“NCBA supports a multiple firewall approach to ensuring this diminishing disease has NO effect on public or animal or on our ability to trade safe beef and beef products. This firewall approach includes:

  • Removal of specified risk materials (SRMs) from all animals entering the human food supply. SRMsare tissues that, in infected cattle, could potentially carry the BSEagent. This measure is internationally recognized as the most effective means to protect public health from BSE.
  • A ban on ruminant-derived proteins in cattle feed since 1997. International experts agree that a feed ban breaks the cycle of BSE and assures the disease will be eliminated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports a 99 percent compliance rate for the feed ban.

Canadahas all these systems in place, as does the United States.

“For cattle producers, providing the safest beef in the world has always been our number one priority. We’re committed to protecting the health of the consumers who purchase our product, protecting the health of our cattle herd, and ensuring sustainability for U.S. cattlemen. For generations, our livelihood has depended on providing safe, wholesome and nutritious beef to your family and our own.”