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CFIA Completes BSE Investigation

by 5m Editor
16 June 2006, at 12:00am

CANADA - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has concluded its investigation of the case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) confirmed on April 16, 2006, in a cow from British Columbia.

The investigation, conducted in line with international guidelines, identified 148 animals, including the affected animal’s herdmates and recent offspring. From this group, 22 live animals were located and all tested negative for BSE. One additional animal, which is currently pregnant, has been placed under quarantine and will be tested once it has calved. Of the remaining animals investigated, 77 had died or been slaughtered, 15 were exported to the United States and 33 were untraceable. Because BSE investigations typically involve older animals, it is common for a portion of the herdmates to go untraceable due to lack of records.

The Agency examined feed to which the affected animal would have been exposed early in its life, when cattle are most likely to develop BSE. Efforts to identify potential routes of transmission included reviews of records and procedures at the farm, retail and production levels. While a specific source of infection was not found, investigators determined that vehicles and equipment used to ship and receive a variety of ingredients likely contaminated cattle feed with the BSE agent.

Investigators also identified a feed ingredient supplier common to this case and Canada’s fourth BSE animal, confirmed on January 22, 2006. This potential link suggests that all of Canada’s BSE cases fall within the same geographic cluster, which is reflective of feed sourcing, production and distribution patterns. The clustering theory is explained in the epidemiological report Canada’s Assessment of the North American BSE Cases Diagnosed From 2003 to 2005, which is available on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website.

The investigation noted high compliance with the requirements of Canada’s feed ban. Such findings—which have been observed during other investigations and regular inspections of feed mills, renderers and retailers across the country—confirm the presence of limited opportunities for contamination during feed manufacture, transportation, storage and use. With an eye to eliminating these risks, the Agency continues its progress toward enhancing Canada’s feed ban. Proposed changes would prohibit the use of potentially harmful cattle tissues as ingredients in any animal feeds.

ThePigSite News Desk

5m Editor