USDA: progress is being made

Related tags Mad cow disease United states

The entire bull calf herd from which the suspected case of BSE
belonged to has been euthanised, according to the latest USDA
update on the current crisis. Over 450 animals were killed
according to American Veterinary Medical Association humane
guidelines.

USDA officials then secured the animal carcasses overnight and disposed of the animals by landfill on 7 January. None of the carcasses entered the human food supply chain or were rendered.

The USDA also claims to have made important steps in tracing the history of the infected animal. Another cow that came into the United States along with the BSE-infected cow has been identified as belonging to the same dairy herd located in Mattawa, Washington, which is currently under a Washington State hold order.

The department has 12 of the 82 cattle listed on the Canadian health certificate definitely accounted for. These animals include the index cow, nine animals known to be part of the index herd and two animals on the Mattawa premises.

The USDA​ also believes that one of the animals listed on the health certificate remained in Canada and did not enter the United States.

Tracebacks of the other 69 animals that entered the United States continues. The USDA says it has good leads on the whereabouts of many of these animals. In regard to the 17 animals from the BSE-infected animal's birth herd that may have also arrived in the United States as part of a later shipment, USDA and Canadian officials continue to work to confirm if any or all of these 17 animals-all heifers-did in fact enter the United States.

Yesterday, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued four new rules to implement announcements made last week by agriculture secretary Ann Veneman to further enhance safeguards against BSE. However according to some industry bodies, the measures do not go far enough.

The US feed industry for example yesterday proposed tougher federal rules, which include opening feed plants to annual third-party inspections. The American Feed Industry Association​ wants to create what it calls a fourth firewall against mad cow disease.

"It carries some rather far-reaching measures for the industry,"​ Rex Runyon, the trade group's vice president, told Reuters. "Our purpose is to install a fourth firewall for current BSE safeguards."

The three US safeguards currently in place are a ban on cattle imports from countries with mad cow disease, a ban on using cattle remains to feed other cattle and required certification from rendering plants that they are abiding by federal law. The feed group said it now believes that all companies that handle feed containing cattle, goats or sheep should keep detailed records of its products for at least six years. Current rules require only one year retention.

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