“It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health,” the USDA’s Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford said in a statement, adding that milk does not transmit BSE. Clifford said the case was “a very rare form of the disease not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed.”
Clifford’s statement went on to expound on the USDA’s safeguarding measures that ban specified risk materials (SRMSs), or parts of the animal most likely to contain BSE agents if present in an animal, and the ban on downer cattle from entering the food chain. He also noted the Food and Drug Administration’s ban on ruminant material in cattle feed as a prevention step in the disease.
“Evidence shows that our systems and safeguards to prevent BSE are working, as are similar actions taken by countries around the world,” Clifford said. “In 2011, there were only 29 worldwide cases of BSE, a dramatic decline and 99 percent reduction since the peak in 1992 of 37,311 cases.”
Click here to read Clifford’s entire statement.
A statement from the U.S. Meat Export Federation said the discovery “will not have any impact on the United States’ ‘controlled risk’ BSE classification through the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and should not affect access for U.S. beef products in international markets.”
"The most important message is that U.S. beef is safe,” said Philip Seng, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) president and CEO. “We are already reaching out to our trade contacts around the world to reassure them that this finding is an indication that the system to safeguard the wholesomeness and safety of U.S. beef is working. The U.S. Government is providing this same information through its channels to all of our trading partners.”
Click here read the full statement.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Cattle Health and Well-being committee chairman Tom Talbot praised the safeguard system in place to prevent BSE and to identify cases such as this one.
“USDA’s ongoing BSE surveillance program tests approximately 40,000 high-risk cattle annually, bringing the total of tested animals to more than 1 million since the program began. BSE is fast approaching eradication worldwide.”“We commend USDA and animal health experts for effectively identifying and eliminating the potential risks associated with BSE.”