USDA Announcement Regarding BSE Negative Test Result
Jan Lyons, cattle producer, Manhattan, Kansas
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
November 23, 2004

"The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the negative test results for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, also known as mad cow disease) on an animal whose initial rapid screening test results were inconclusive.  Using multiple gold-standard tests, the government has confirmed that the animal did not have BSE. 

"This is not an unexpected situation and proves why it is important to await the final test results from USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory. 

"As part of USDA’s enhanced BSE surveillance program, a rapid screening test is used as the first step in a two-part testing process. Because the rapid tests are sensitive, they are subject to occasional inconclusive results that later prove to be negative. 

"The USDA will continue the enhanced BSE surveillance program it launched June 2004 to assess the prevalence of this disease, if it exists, in this country.  To date, more than 121,000 animals have been tested, and all animals have tested negative. 

"What Americans need to know is that the U.S. government and cattle industry will continue to protect public and animal health from BSE.  For example, this animal never entered the human food supply, nor did it enter the animal feed chain, proving the systems in place are working to protect public and animal health.

"While this animal did not have BSE, the government has indicated that finding some additional cases of the disease is possible through the enhanced surveillance program. In addition to keeping this particular animal out of the food supply, beef is safe from BSE because anything that could potentially carry BSE is prohibited from entering the food supply.  Importantly, BSE infectivity has not been found in beef, including steaks, roasts and ground beef. 

"As America’s beef producers, our number-one priority is producing the safest beef in the world.  Our very livelihood depends on it.  As a rancher, a mother and a grandmother, I know the beef I produce is served in homes around the world, including my family’s home.   That’s why we will continue to work with the government and top scientists, as we have over the past 15 years, to maintain safeguards that today are protecting consumers and our cattle from BSE."

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