National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Statement
Jim McAdams, President, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced this evening they are sending a brain sample to the BSE World Reference Laboratory in Weybridge, England, from one of the three cows that tested inconclusive and was later confirmed negative in 2004.  A separate test was requested by the USDA’s Office of Inspector General on all three samples, and one of the tests returned positive.

“This aged animal never entered the human food or animal feed supply.

“Multiple tests can identify BSE.  One commonly used method is the internationally recognized immunohistochemistry (IHC) test. Another test commonly used is the Western Blot test.  These two types of tests have returned conflicting results on this sample.

“U.S. beef consumers should know that our beef supply is safe from BSE because we prohibit from the food supply any material that could carry the BSE agent (specified risk materials, or SRMs).  USDA also bans from the food supply any cattle that appear to be high-risk, including this animal.

“The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) supports getting a clear and definitive answer on this sample as quickly as possible and requests USDA Secretary Johanns take whatever steps are necessary to do so.  

“NCBA has supported the aggressive BSE surveillance program and will continue to support a thorough evaluation.  To date, 375,360 samples have been tested as part of this aggressive surveillance program that started on June 1, 2004, only three tested inconclusive.  Two of these samples have been confirmed negative by both tests.

“NCBA expects USDA to act with speed and accuracy in reaching final resolution to this situation.”

NCBA