Statement By Dr. Ron DeHaven Administrator, Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service
December 30, 2004
"USDA is confident that the animal and public health measures that Canada has in place to prevent BSE, combined with existing U.S. domestic safeguards and additional safeguards announced yesterday provide the utmost protections to U.S. consumers and livestock.
"Last night Canada announced the finding of a "suspect" animal, which is their term for inconclusive. If this animal proves to be positive, it would not alter the implementation of the U.S. rule announced yesterday that recognizes Canada as a Minimal-Risk Region. In the extensive risk analysis conducted as part of the rule making, we considered the possibility of additional cases of BSE in Canada. Because of the mitigation measures that Canada has in place, we continue to believe the risk is minimal.
"When Canadian ruminants and ruminant products are presented for importation into the United States, they become subject to domestic safeguards as well. Beef imports that have already undergone Canadian inspection are also subject to re-inspection at ports of entry by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to ensure only eligible products are imported
"We are working closely with Canadian officials as they conduct their investigation into this situation."