The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced that its investigators and inspectors from the states of Washington and Oregon have located all of the potentially-infectious product rendered from the one cow that has tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, known as mad cow disease) in Washington State. The rendering plants that processed all the non-edible material from the BSE cow have placed a voluntary hold on all of the potentially-infectious product, none of which has left the control of the companies and entered commercial distribution. The firms, located in Washington State and Oregon, have assisted and cooperated fully with FDA’s investigation.
Rendering plants typically produce two types of products: meat and bone meal, and fats and oils. Meat and bone meal is a protein supplement used in the manufacture of some animal feeds. FDA’s “animal feed” rule, which took effect in 1997, is a public health measure designed to prevent the spread of BSE by prohibiting the feeding of most mammalian protein to ruminant animals such as cows, sheep and goats. Currently more than 99% of firms handling mammalian protein are in compliance with the animal feed rule.
FDA continues to work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the states of Washington and Oregon, other public health authorities and Canadian officials to investigate this case of mad cow disease. The agency will provide updates as more information becomes available. Additional information about FDA’s work on BSE and links to other websites is available online at http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/bse.html.
Statement of Probable Case of BSE in Washington State
Dec. 24, 2003 -- Following the announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture late yesterday that a Holstein cow in the State of Washington has tested presumptively positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or “mad cow disease”), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has dispatched several teams of investigators to trace back and trace forward the potential involvement of any FDA-regulated commodities.
USDA, which is responsible for the safety of certain meat and poultry products as well as animal health, is leading the investigation of this BSE case. FDA’s primary responsibility at this time related to this investigation involves animal feed, which most experts believe is the main way in which BSE is amplified throughout cattle herds. BSE does not spread naturally from adult cow to adult cow.
FDA is working closely with USDA and state officials in this intense investigation.
Although the investigation is now in its earliest stages, so far there is only one identified probable case of BSE. At this point there is no reason to believe that more than one cow is involved, especially given USDA’s stepped-up sampling of animals most susceptible to BSE.
FDA’s “animal feed” rule, in place since 1997, is designed to prevent the spread of BSE further throughout cattle herds. This regulation prohibits the feeding of most mammalian protein to ruminant animals such as cows, sheep and goats - the route of disease transmission that led to the epidemic of BSE in the United Kingdom, beginning in the 1980’s.
A study (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/bse/bse-riskassmt.html) published in 2001 by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis identified FDA’s animal feed rule as one of the primary safeguards against the amplification of BSE in the U.S. cattle herd if a case were ever to occur in the U.S.
FDA has vigorously enforced this rule. More than 99 percent of these facilities are currently in compliance with the provisions of this rule to protect the U.S. food supply and its cattle from the agent that causes BSE.
This one case of BSE does not mean that the U.S. food supply is any less safe today than it was yesterday. Concerning the safety of milk, the scientific data indicate that milk from BSE cows does not transmit BSE. National and international public health organizations have consistently stated that milk and milk products are safe regardless of whether the country producing them has had cases of BSE.
FDA will update the public frequently as more information about its investigation becomes available.
FDA's BSE Emergency Plan Response Summary http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/bseplan/bseplan.html
More Information about BSE http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/bse.html
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