Statement on BSE Surveillance Analysis
DENVER - “A draft government analysis, released today, of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) BSE surveillance program provides the best evidence yet that the BSE risk in this country is extremely low. The analysis covers 730,000 samples during a seven-year time period and will now undergo a rigorous scientific review.
“Scientists have long held that the BSE risk in this country remains very low because of the progressive steps taken by the U.S. government over the past two decades.
“But despite this extremely low risk, strong measures remain in place to help ensure the safety of our beef. USDA Public Health Veterinarians examine every single animal before processing and condemn those with any signs of illness. And the government mandates removal from the food supply material that would most likely carry the BSE agent. These processes happen every day with every animal to ensure this diminishing disease has no effect on public health.
“America’s beef producers have always supported a science-based BSE surveillance program and will continue to do so. However, it’s because of the systems in place, not testing, that the world’s top scientists, medical professionals and government officials agree BSE is not a public or animal health risk in the United States.
“The BSE surveillance program has been exhaustive and thorough, testing about five to seven thousand cattle per week considered at highest risk for the disease. To date, the program has tested 694,644 cattle at highest risk for BSE and has found only two cases. The enhanced surveillance program was designed to determine the prevalence of BSE in this country, and we know that BSE is an extremely rare disease here.
“As beef producers, our livelihoods depend on delivering a safe and wholesome food to your dinner tables and ours. The draft analysis released today gives us even more assurance that we’re doing just that.”