USDA and FDA reiterate safety of consuming beef and dairy products

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, April 27, 2012 - USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service released an update on the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) detection announced earlier this week with additional information about the history and age of the infected animal. 

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The animal in question was 10 years and 7 months old and came from a dairy farm in Tulare County, Calif. According to the update, the animal was humanely euthanized after it developed lameness and became recumbent. The animal's carcass will be destroyed.

The positive animal was tested as part of targeted BSE surveillance at rendering facilities. Samples were sent to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory for testing and forwarded to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) on April 20th for confirmatory testing. APHIS announced the confirmed positive finding April 24th.

“It is important to reiterate that this animal was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, did not enter food supply channels, and at no time presented any risk to human health,” stated the update. “USDA is continuing its epidemiological investigation and will provide additional information as it is available.”

On April 24, USDA confirmed the nation's fourth case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the animal sampled for the disease at a rendering facility in central California.

The update also outlined the following system of safeguards the government takes against BSE: 

The United States has a longstanding system of three interlocking safeguards against BSE that protects public and animal health in the United States, the most important of which is the removal of specified risk materials - or the parts of an animal that would contain BSE should an animal have the disease - from all animals presented for slaughter in the United States. The second safeguard is a strong feed ban that protects cattle from the disease. The third safeguard-which led to this detection- is our ongoing BSE surveillance program that allows USDA to detect the disease if it exists at very low levels in the U.S. cattle population and provides assurances to consumers and our international trading partners that the interlocking system of safeguards in place to prevent BSE are working.

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