Statement by Ron DeHaven, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
January 3, 2005
"Yesterday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed that an older dairy cow from Alberta, Canada, has tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The infected animal was born in 1996, prior to the implementation of Canada's 1997 feed ban. No part of the animal entered the human food or animal feed systems.
"USDA remains confident that the animal and public health measures that Canada has in place, including the removal of specified risk material (SRMs) from the human food chain, a ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban, a national surveillance program and import restrictions, combined with existing U.S. domestic safeguards and the additional safeguards announced as part of USDA's BSE minimal-risk rule announced Dec. 29 provide the utmost protections to U.S. consumers and livestock.
'The extensive risk assessment conducted as part of USDA's rulemaking process took into careful consideration the possibility that Canada could experience additional cases of BSE.
"According to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines, a country may be considered a BSE minimal-risk country if it has less than 2 cases per million cattle over 24 months of age during each of the previous 4 consecutive years. Considering Canada has roughly 5.5 million cattle over 24 months of age, under OIE guidelines, they could detect up to 11 cases of BSE in this population and still be considered a minimal-risk country, as long as their risk mitigation measures and other preventative measures were effective.
"USDA will continue to work closely with CFIA officials as their investigation into this situation progresses."