Canada Confirms 4th case of BSE; Japan 22nd Case

The Canadian government has confirmed BSE in a cow born three years after the 1997 BSE feed rule; Japan announced today its 22nd BSE case in a 64-month old cow
January 24, 2006

The Canadian government has confirmed BSE in a Holstein/Hereford cross brood cow born and bred on an Alberta dairy farm. The animal is approximately six years old, born April 15, 2000, three years after the1997 BSE feed rule instituted by the Canadian government. No part of the animal entered the food or feed systems, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). This is the fourth case of BSE confirmed in Canada.

Japan announced today its 22nd BSE case in a 64-month old cow that died last week in northern Japan. The government said the infected Holstein cow would be destroyed and would not enter the food or feed chain. In a related move, Japan has stopped importation of U.S. beef after finding prohibited spinal material in a shipment of veal. Resumption of trade will not resume, according to the Japanese government, until an adequate explanation of this incident is provided.

In Canada, the CFIA is conducting an extensive epidemiological investigation of the farm and its animals, including the source and production of the animal’s feed, storage of feed and the feeding regime, as well as other animals exposed to the feed. Under international standards, CFIA will identify animals born 12 months prior and 12 months after the affected animal, as well as offspring born to the BSE animal over the last two years.

USDA took no immediate action on current live cattle and beef product imports from Canada.

"USDA remains confident in the animal and public health measures that Canada has in place to prevent BSE, combined with existing U.S. domestic safeguards and additional safeguards...recognizing Canada as a Minimal-Risk Region for BSE," USDA said in prepared statements from Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns and USDA Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. John Clifford. Clifford reiterated it is under the Minimal-Risk Region rule that USDA allows import of live cattle under 30 months of age for feeding and immediate slaughter, as well as import of beef and other products from animals younger than 30 months old.

CFIA said discovery of the animal "is not unexpected" given the enhanced surveillance system Canada has had in place since 2003, and does not indicate an increased risk of BSE in Canada. Further, the Canadian government said based on OIE guidelines and certification recommendations, the discovery of this case "should not affect Canada’s ability to export live animals, beef and beef products."

The owner of the 400-animal operation called in his veterinarian after the affected animal showed progressive signs of illness. The vet called CFIA since the animal’s symptoms were consistent with high-risk categories of animals targeted under the Canadian BSE surveillance system. As to the exact location of the farm, all CFIA would say is the location is consistent with the three previous Canadian BSE cases, i.e. they were clustered in an area of Alberta.

CFIA said changes to the Canadian ruminant feeding rule will be recommended to the incoming government following yesterday’s Canadian federal election. Those changes will be based upon a proposal published by CFIA in 2004.

It is unclear at this time what effect this BSE case in Canada will have on the rulemaking process in the U.S. FDA is still reviewing the nearly 900 comments received from its proposed rule to amend the BSE feed rule. The comment period for the proposed rule closed on December 20, 2005. FDA has no time requirement to publish a final rule.

[Source:American Feed Industry Association AFIA]