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Canadians Detect Zero Cases of BSE; Testing Program Exceeds Goal for Year

by 5m Editor
4 November 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Canada has not detected a single new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the nearly 9,000 animals it has tested as part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) enhanced surveillance program. As of Oct. 27, exactly 8,968 cattle were tested, surpassing the agency's 2004 goals.

According to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Andy Mitchell, Canada is serious regarding its enhanced BSE surveillance. "Reaching this year's target ahead of schedule shows that Canada is taking its surveillance responsibilities seriously. High-risk cattle are being reported and tested for BSE," Mitchell said. The agency also plans to "further intensify our surveillance levels."

Using a phased approach, the government indicated that 8,000 animals would be tested in 2004, followed by at least 30,000 animals in the following years. The Canadian surveillance program focuses on testing high-risk cattle: dead, dying, diseased and non-ambulatory cattle over 30 months of age and cattle showing neurological symptoms consistent with BSE.

Following the confirmation two positive cases of BSE in North America, Canada announced its plan to increase surveillance levels to at least 30,000 tests annually. This surveillance is to determine the prevalence of BSE in the national herd and to verify that existing control measures are limiting the spread of the disease.

Last month, CFIA announced a BSE surveillance reimbursement program and education campaign to encourage producers to report animals for BSE testing. The reimbursement program partially offsets producers' costs related to veterinary examination and carcass disposal when these activities result in the collection of an eligible brain sample.

For more information, visit CFIA's Web site at
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/heasan/disemala/bseesb/bseesbindexe.shtml

To view details of Canada's BSE enhanced surveillance plan testing, go to
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/heasan/disemala/bseesb/surv/surve.shtml#num

Source: American Meat Institute (AMI) - 2nd November 2004

5m Editor