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BSE test is negative

The inconclusive screening test sample reported Nov. 18 has tested negative for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, announced late yesterday after completing confirmatory testing.

John Clifford, deputy administrator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), reported that the lab twice conducted the immunohistochemistry (IHC) test — the internationally recognized gold standard test for BSE — receiving a negative result on both tests.

"Negative results from both IHC tests makes us confident that the animal in question is indeed negative for BSE," Clifford said.

The inconclusive finding was the third this year since the agency began its enhanced surveillance program in June. However, the test was the first conducted since USDA’s August announcement that it would wait for two duplicate inconclusive screening tests before making an announcement — a fact that had some in the public sector and in the industry more wary of the outcome in this case. Clifford reported that false positives could be expected from the highly sensitive screening tests, noting that APHIS has tested more than 121,000 samples for BSE since June.

Crystal Albers, Angus Productions Inc. assistant editor

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