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AFIA response to Canadian BSE Announcement

The American Feed Industry Association has issues a statement on the discovery of a third case of BSE in a Canadian cow

January 12, 2005

The American Feed Industry Association has issues a statement on the discovery of a third case of BSE in a Canadian cow:

ARLINGTON, VA, Jan. 12‚ÄĒ. It is important to note that in Canada‚Äôs third case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, confirmed Jan. 11 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the cow did not enter the human food supply or the animal feed system.¬† This stands as further proof that current precautionary measures are effective and working to prevent the spread of the animal disease in North America.¬†¬† The beef supply remains safe for all consumers.

The confirmation of another case is not surprising based on the dramatic increase by Canada and the United States in their respective surveillance programs.  This holds true particularly for older animals born before or during the transitional phase of the BSE feed regulation in each country.  The cow was born in March 1998 on a farm in Alberta.

Since January 2004, the Department of Agriculture has tested over 175,000 cows in the U.S.  This surveillance has resulted in only one confirmation of an imported BSE cow.  These figures support findings by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis that the U.S. is highly resistant to the establishment of BSE.  The prestigious Center’s three-year study found in 2001 that government and industry measures in place were extremely effective in reducing the spread of BSE, even if sporadic cases are detected. 

AFIA has traditionally advocated inspections of all feed mills and rendering plants handling restricted protein products.  This has lead to an unprecedented high level of industry compliance with the Food and Drug Administration’s BSE feed regulation. 

AFIA is a proponent of even stronger surveillance and enforcement efforts by federal and state agencies for all parties handling feed containing animal protein. On Jan. 8, 2004 AFIA’s Board of Directors approved recommendations intended to provide additional safeguards in the use of these products.  Among other measures, these involved stronger record-keeping requirements, registration with FDA, a third-party inspection system and inspection of all users of these products.

AFIA also founded an independent, third party organization in 2001 offer certification for firms wanting to show compliance with the U.S. feed rule.  The Facility Certification Institute  (FCI) provides this service to feed industry firms as an additional firewall over and above what the federal government requires. 

AFIA is confident that both industry and the U.S. government are living up to a joint commitment to ensure a safe feed supply.  The Association reiterates its continuing vigilance to BSE prevention and an unwavering support of sound, science-based measures in responding to animal disease issues.

For further information, contact AFIA, 1501 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1100, Arlington, Va. 22209. Tel: 703/524-0810.  Fax: 703/524-1921.  E-mail: afia@afia.org

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