USA: USDA says new BSE case confirmed
US agriculture secretary Mike Johanns has announced that the US Department of Agriculture has received final test results from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, England, confirming that a sample from an animal that was blocked from the food supply in November 2004 has tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
Johanns also directed USDA scientists to work with international experts to thoughtfully develop a new protocol that includes performing dual confirmatory tests in the event of another "inconclusive" BSE screening test, the USDA said..
"We are currently testing nearly 1,000 animals per day as part of our BSE enhanced surveillance program, more than 388,000 total tests, and this is the first confirmed case resulting from our surveillance," Johanns said. "I am encouraged that our interlocking safeguards are working exactly as intended. This animal was blocked from entering the food supply because of the firewalls we have in place. Americans have every reason to continue to be confident in the safety of our beef."
Effective immediately, if another BSE rapid screening test results in inconclusive findings, USDA will run both an IHC and Western blot confirmatory test. If results from either confirmatory test are positive, the sample will be considered positive for BSE.
"I want to make sure we continue to give consumers every reason to be confident in the health of our cattle herd," Johanns said. "By adding the second confirmatory test, we boost that confidence and bring our testing in line with the evolving worldwide trend to use both IHC and Western blot together as confirmatory tests for BSE."
USDA has initiated an epidemiological investigation to determine the animal's herd of origin. That investigation is not yet complete. The animal was born before the United States instituted a ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban in August 1997, which prevents the use of most mammalian protein in cattle feed. According to internationally accepted research, feed containing meat-and-bone meal is the primary way BSE is transferred to the cattle population.
The animal was selected for testing because, as a non-ambulatory animal, it was considered to be at higher risk for BSE. An initial screening test on the animal in November 2004 was inconclusive, triggering USDA to conduct the internationally accepted confirmatory IHC tests. Those test results were negative. Earlier this month, USDA's Office of the Inspector General recommended further testing of the seven-month-old sample using another internationally recognized confirmatory test, the Western blot. Unlike the IHC, the Western blot was reactive, prompting USDA to send samples from the animal to the Weybridge laboratory for further analysis.
The laboratory in Weybridge, England, is recognized by the World Animal Health Organization, or OIE, as a world reference laboratory for BSE. Weybridge officials this week conducted a combination of rapid, IHC and Western blot testing on tissue samples from the animal in question. At the same time these diagnostic tests were being run by Weybridge, USDA conducted its own additional tests.
As a non-ambulatory, or "downer" animal, the cow was prohibited from entering the human food supply, under an interim final rule in effect since January 2004. Research has shown that BSE is most likely to be found in older non-ambulatory cattle, animals showing signs of central nervous system disorders, injured or emaciated animals, and cattle that have died for unexplained reasons. USDA's testing program targets these groups of animals for testing.
The system of human health protections includes the USDA ban on specified risk materials, or SRM's, from the food supply. SRM's are most likely to contain the BSE agent if it is present in an animal. Additional measures, such as a longstanding ban on importing cattle and beef products from high-risk countries, a ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban, US slaughter practices, and aggressive surveillance provide a series of interlocking safeguards to protect US consumers and animal health.
USDA remains committed to protecting both US consumers and US livestock from BSE, and to that end continues efforts to detect the disease through its enhanced BSE surveillance program. Once sufficient data from the surveillance program has been accumulated, USDA will consult with outside experts to analyze it and determine whether any changes to existing risk management measures are necessary.
This confirmed case of BSE in no way impacts the safety of our nation's food supply. As the epidemiological investigation progresses, USDA will continue to communicate findings in a timely and transparent manner, it said.
A New Zealand government advisory group's recommendation to set up a compulsory identification system for every farm animal in the country is to be welcomed. If implemented, the system will give furth...
The US Department of Agriculture says it has identified the source of the case of BSE confirmed recently....
Biotechnology company Vacci-Test Corporation has announced that a simple, reliable and economical diagnostic tool for the detection in live cattle of infectious brain diseases, including Bovine Spongi...
The US Department of Agriculture has said a suspected BSE sample has been sent to the UK for further testing after two separate tests gave different results....
The Ugandan government has banned the import of all dairy products to stop the possible entry of the disease BSE, according to the agency AFP....
Japan's independent Food Safety Commission has today (Friday) approved an easing of the blanket testing of all cows for BSE, paving the way for lifting an import ban on US beef, the Kyodo news agency ...
Bird flu is still ravaging Indonesian poultry production, according figures released by the Office International des Épizooties, the world animal health organisation....
A former US government veterinarian has claimed the US government is hiding cases of BSE in the United States....
- Unilever 2016 investor day - the top takeaways
- Have food promotions reached tipping point?
- Mondelez goes beyond certified cocoa - analysis
- What Premier CEO Gavin Darby thinks about Brexit
- How Tyson's new CEO plans to grow the meat group
- Nestle unveils process to cut sugar by 40%
- Putin 'wants embargo to run as long as possible'
- Unilever sets new margin target with help from ZBB
- Unilever focuses on "value" of spreads arm
- McCormick to buy flavours business Enrico Giotti