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Canadian BSE investigation: UPDATE

Friday, May 23, 2003

The CFIA has now placed a total of thirteen cattle herds under quarantine as part of its aggressive investigation into this incident of BSE. Eight in Alberta, two in Saskatchewan and three in B.C. This reflects the fact that the investigation is advancing, not the disease.

Seven herds traceback to the cow’s movement throughout its entire life, three herds involve the traceout of the cow’s offspring, and three farms have been quarantined as a result of our investigation into the distribution of feeds associated with the affected cow’s movements. We are examining the feeding procedures being used.

The increasing number of herds under quarantine is a normal occurrence in an investigation of this type and it does not indicate that the situation is getting worse. Pending the results of our testing, there remains only a single confirmed case.

As the investigation continues, we anticipate being in a position to start lifting quarantines on those farms where the evidence conclusively demonstrates that they were not at risk.

The sampling of the animals in the case herd is now complete. Internationally sanctioned rapid tests are being performed in Winnipeg and results are expected in the next few days. In addition, traditional methods are being applied at CFIA laboratories in Winnipeg and St Hyacinthe and we can expect these results several days after.

A number of our trading partners have instituted temporary restrictions on specific products from Canada. There is a strong partnership among federal departments addressing this issue. The Government of Canada is working with its U.S. and other counterparts so that restrictions can be lifted as soon as possible.

The United States has offered the assistance of officials with veterinary expertise in our ongoing investigation. Assistance from the U.S. is a reflection of the integrated meat production system in North America.

There are two BSE experts from the USDA in Canada and they will be participating in our investigations in Winnipeg.

Canada has received several offers from other foreign countries to provide technical and scientific support based on their expertise in various aspects of this investigation. We greatly appreciate these offers and will be calling on this generosity as specific needs arise.
For more information, please see the Backgrounder.
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/newcom/2003/20030520bge.shtml

Keep up to date on the investigation on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Website: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/toce.shtml

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