Canadian BSE case won’t stop U.S. trade

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SALEM, Ohio – A case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was found in a 6-year-old cow born and raised in Alberta, according to Canadian officials Jan. 23.
Despite the finding, the USDA said it will continue allowing beef and live cattle imports from Canada.
The U.S. stopped Canadian imports in May 2003, after Canada’s first case of BSE was found. Trade resumed last July.
Expected. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, no part of the animal entered the human food or animal feed systems.
The agency said the finding is not unexpected, and the geographic location and age of this animal are consistent with the three previous domestic cases. All cases were found through the national BSE surveillance program.
Canadian officials are investigating the feeding regime and storage practices on the farm, as well as the production and source of feeds delivered to the farm.
Consistent with international standards, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will identify cattle born on the farm within 12 months before and after the affected animal, as well as offspring of the affected animal born during the last two years. Any live animals found from these groups will be segregated, slaughtered and tested.
Feed. The BSE source cannot be determined until the investigation is complete, agency officials said. It is probable, however, that the source is contaminated feed.
This scenario is consistent with Canada’s previous experience, they said.
Too quick? Although National Cattlemen’s Beef Association supports USDA’s decision to keep the borders open, not everyone agrees.
National Farmers Union said the USDA was too quick to resume trade last summer.
“[This] development proves that they acted in haste, and that Canada still has problems with this disease,” said Dave Frederickson, the group’s president.
All imports of Canadian cattle should be stopped immediately, he said, until Canada has the problem under control.

Related articles:
Court reopens Canadian border (7-21-2005)
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