USDA Announcement Regarding Inconclusive BSE Test Result
Jan Lyons, cattle producer, Manhattan, Kansas
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
November 18, 2004

"Earlier this morning, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an inconclusive test result as part of its aggressive surveillance program to test cattle for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). The USDA confirmed today that this animal did not enter the human food or animal feed supply. The USDA explained that this announcement does not mean the U.S. has another case of BSE.

"It is important to remember that the U.S. government and the beef industry have put science-based precautions in place over the past 15 years to ensure our beef remains safe from BSE. 

"These initial screening tests are designed to be extremely sensitive.  This test result is simply one step in the process.  USDA will carefully analyze these samples, and we can’t assume, at this point, that this inconclusive represents a positive case.  In undertaking this enhanced surveillance program inconclusive results are not unexpected.

"The second step is now under way with the sample going to USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. Confirmatory results are expected back within 4-7 days.

"In June 2004, the USDA implemented this enhanced BSE testing program to provide further assurance that the risk for BSE in the U.S. is extremely low.  To date, 113,264 tests have been conducted with no positive cases reported.  This marks the 3rd inconclusive test result received since June 1.  The previous two inconclusive tests were confirmed negative following further testing. 

"In 2003, USDA strengthened its food safety program by prohibiting from the food supply any material that could carry the BSE agent (specified risk materials or SRMs).  USDA also banned from the food supply any cattle that appear to be high-risk. 

"In 1997, the FDA banned feeding cattle the type of animal-derived protein that can spread BSE.  International experts agree that a feed ban breaks the cycle of BSE and assures it will be eliminated. The FDA reports a remarkable 99.9 percent compliance rate for the feed ban.

"As America's beef producers, our livelihood depends on providing the safest beef in the world. 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. Providing safe and wholesome beef remains our number one priority."

To learn more about the risks of BSE, information can found at the following websites:

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