New BSE Case Confirmed in Canada

JAN. 11, 2005 — A new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has been confirmed in a six-year, nine-month-old cow in Alberta, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced today. The CFIA has reported that it has control of the carcass, and no part of the animal entered the human food or animal feed systems.

The infected animal, according to agency reports, was born March 1998, after introduction of the 1997 feed ban. The CFIA is investigating the type and source of the feed that may have infected the animal. The farm of origin has been confirmed.

The finding is Canada’s second case of BSE announced this month. However, the CFIA stated the current investigation is independent of the BSE investigation on the case announced Jan. 2 regarding another infected Alberta cow.

Although U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Administrator Ron DeHaven says the agency remains confident in Canada’s BSE prevention measures and the United States’ safeguards, plans are under way to investigate the case.

"Since the animal was born shortly after the implementation of Canada’s feed ban and to determine if there are any potential links among the positive animals, we will expedite a technical team to Canada to evaluate the circumstances surrounding these efforts. We will continue our ongoing work with Canadian officials in their epidemiological investigations to determine the facts of these cases."

Investigation results could determine the status of plans announced Dec. 29 to begin importing live cattle from Canada — an area originally categorized as minimal-risk — beginning March 7.

"As always, protection of public and animal health is our top priority," DeHaven said in a statement released earlier today. "The result of our investigation and analysis will be used to evaluate appropriate steps in regard to the minimal-risk rule published last week."

by Crystal Albers, Angus Productions Inc. assistant editor

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