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USDA announces finding of inconclusive BSE test result

Deputy Administrator Dr. John Clifford of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced June 29, 2004, that at approximately 5:15 p.m. APHIS was notified that an inconclusive bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) test result was received on a rapid screening test used as part of its enhanced BSE surveillance program.

In an official USDA release, Clifford said:

"The inconclusive result does not mean we have found another case of BSE in this country. Inconclusive results are a normal component of screening tests, which are designed to be extremely sensitive so they will detect any sample that could possibly be positive.

"Tissue samples are now being sent to USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) — the national BSE reference lab — which will run confirmatory testing. Confirmatory testing is also still pending on the inconclusive test result announced June 25.

"The carcass has been accounted for and is not in the food supply.

"Because this test is only an inconclusive test result, and because of the chance the confirmatory results will be negative, we are not disclosing details specific to this test at this time.

"APHIS has begun internal steps to identify the animal to be prepared if further testing were to return a positive result.

"Confirmatory results are expected back from NVSL within the next 4 to 7 days, and we will announce the test results then. And, if the test comes back positive for BSE, we will of course provide additional information about the animal and its origin."

For more information visit www.usda.gov and www.bseinfo.org

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