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Canada confirms BSE in Alberta cow

Tuesday, May 20, 2003



North America's first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or "mad cow" disease in a decade has been confirmed in an eight-year-old cow cow in Alberta. U.S. cattle futures markets slumped as the news swept through trading pits this morning and shares in the major fast-food chains, Wendy's, McDonalds and Jack-in-the-Box all took a dive.
Canadian Agriculture Minister, Lyle Vanclief, stressed that the cow did not enter the food chain. "The herd will be depopulated once samples have been obtained,." he said, adding that any other herds found to be at risk would also be destroyed.

The animal is said to have been underweight and to have had pneumonia and was sent to a rendering plant after slaughter. "It did not go into the food chain," Vanclief stressed, and it did not enter into the feed chain, either. A bovine-to-bovine feed ban has been in place in Canada since 1997. "It's too early to determine the exact cause or extent of the disease," Vanclief said.

The animal was discovered Jan. 31, 2003.Canadian Food Inspection Agency tests were inconclusive and specimens were sent for testing in the U.K., where BSE was confirmed.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman said in a statement: “I have spoken with Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lyle Vanclief a short time ago about Canada’s investigation and feel that all appropriate measures are being taken in what appears to be an isolated case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Information suggests that risk to human health and the possibility of transmission to animals in the United States is very low.

“USDA is placing Canada under its BSE restriction guidelines and will not accept any ruminants or ruminant products from Canada pending further investigation. We are dispatching a technical team to Canada to assist in the investigation and will provide more detailed information as it becomes

AFIA says that as of 1:30 pm this afternoon the U.S./Canadian border has been shut down to the entry of any ruminants or ruminant products from Canada until further information is gathered.

"USDA APHIS realizes the inconvenience this places, but they have asked that we give them a day to prepare details to determine what will be allowed to cross the border, what will not, and the respective permits needed".

The association advises that APHIS is preparing a statement that will outline specifics needed to move ruminants and ruminant products that contains ruminant material, across the U.S./Canadian border. Product that is broadly labeled has been difficult to move across the border, it will even be more so now.

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