USDA Announcement regarding Nondefinitive BSE Test Result
Terry Stokes, Chief Executive Officer
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Centennial, Colorado
July 27, 2005

"Moments earlier, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an nondefinitive 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.

"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. 

"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, more than 400,000 tests have been conducted with one confirmed case reported.

"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.

"Providing safe and wholesome beef remains our number one priority."

Additional Information:

The government has built and maintained four effective firewalls to ensure that U.S. beef remains safe from BSE:

In 2003, USDA strengthened its food safety program by banning from the human food supply any cattle that are unable to walk. Cattle showing signs of possible neurological disease always have been banned from the food supply. The USDA also prohibited from the food supply anything that could potentially carry BSE.

In 1996, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association launched a voluntary feed ban, which established an industry standard against feeding ruminant-derived protein to cattle. In 1997, with our support, the FDA made the ban mandatory. 

In 1990, the United States was the first country in the world without BSE to begin a BSE Surveillance and Testing program.

In 1989, the United States was the first country in the world without BSE to ban imports of beef, cattle products and cattle from countries where BSE is prevalent.

To learn more about BSE, information can found at the following Web sites:

Centers for Disease Control Q&A: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/cjd/bse_cjd_qa.htm
Food and Drug Administration Q&A: www.fda.gov/cber/bse/bseqa.htm#a1
U.S. Department of Agriculture Q&A: www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/bse/bse_q&a.html
Beef Industry Scientific Panel Information Resource: www.BSEinfo.org

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