United States BSE Timeline
1988: USDA establishes BSE working group
1989: United States bans imports of cattle and cattle products like MBM1 from countries with BSE
1993: United States testing program expanded to include "downers"
1996: United States beef industry calls for voluntary MBM cattle feeding ban
1997: United States government bans ruminant MBM in cattle feed, import ban expanded to all of European Union
2000: United States bans imports of all rendered animal protein from Europe, regardless of species.
2001: Harvard Center for Risk Analysis says United States is robust against the spread of BSE if introduced
2002: FDA responds to GAO4 report with increased feed ban enforcement, now less than 99 percent compliance
2003: United States finds first BSE case in imported Canadian cow and announces additional measures, including ban on processing of "downer" cattle and human consumption of high risk materials, such as brains and spinal cords.
2004: USDA dramatically expands BSE surveillance program with only two cases found in older cattle born before 1997 feed ban.
2005: USDA announces diagnosis of first indigenous BSE case in the United States. The animal never entered the human food or animal feed supply. More than half a million head at greater risk of BSE are tested with only one additional case proving the disease is rare in the United States.
2006: USDA reports second native-born pre-1997 feed ban BSE case bringing total to three
2007: United States documents lowest level BSE per 100,000 head of any nation worldwide that has found BSE within its borders. World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) recommends United States as a controlled risk country.
2008: USDA announces proposed rule in accordance with the Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) to prohibit the processing of "downer" cattle. These are animals that are unable to walk or stand at any time prior to slaughter.
2009: USDA 2008 proposed rule becomes Final Rule. USDA expands 1997 feed ban with Feed Ban Enhancement prohibiting certain materials from being used in all animal feeds.
March 9, 2012: USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a proposed rule to amend Federal import regulations for live cattle and beef products that would bring import regulations in line with that of international standards which are based on internationally accepted scientific literarure consistent with OIE guidelines.
April 24, 2012: USDA-APHIS confirms the fourth case of BSE in the United States. The California dairy cow was never presented for human consumption.
April 25, 2012: FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods releases statement that all milk is safe and BSE cannot be transmitted through milk products.
August 3, 2012: USDA releases final report on the epidemiological investigation of the April 24, 2012 BSE case in accordance with the World Health Organization (WTO) guidance confirming all interlocking safeguards were effective and no time presented a risk to the food supply.
1: Meat and bone meal (MBM) from BSE-infected cattle used as a protein supplement in cattle feed is believed to cause the spread of BSE.
2: MBM imports from United Kingdom were banned by Canada in 1978 for reasons other than BSE prevention.
3: The European Commission's Food and Veterinary Office (FVO).
4: General Accounting Office 2002 report, which identified potential steps for strengthening the United States feed ban firewall.