|March 16, 2004,
just-food.com: The U.S. will follow the advice
of an international scientific review panel and expand
its BSE surveillance program, U.S.agriculture secretary
Ann Veneman announced. The panel, formed after the discovery
of a BSE infected cow in Washington, had been asked to
review the USDA’s investigation into the BSE find
and provide recommendations for future actions.
It was the panel’s recommendation that the U.S.
begin a one-year enhanced surveillance program targeting
cattle from the populations considered at highest risk
for the disease, as well as a random sampling of animals
from the aged cattle population. The recommendation
was submitted to the USDA last month.
“We are committed to ensuring that a robust U.S.
surveillance program continues in this country,”
said Veneman. “This one-time extensive surveillance
plan reflects the recommendation of the international
scientific review panel.”
The USDA’s BSE surveillance program has previously
been focused on the cattle populations where it is most
likely to be found, including those condemned at slaughter
because of signs of central nervous system disorders,
non-ambulatory cattle and those that die on farms.
Under the extended testing program, the USDA aims to
test more than 200,000 animals per year, compared to
the current target of 40,000 animals per year.
Veneman said that US$70m will be transferred from the
USDA Commodity Credit Corporation to fund the enhanced
program, which is expected to be ready to be implemented
at the beginning of June this year.
The US is keen to resume beef exports to several of
its key customers who halted shipments following the
BSE case in December. Japan has said it will not resume
imports of US beef unless the US tests 100% of beef
cattle for BSE, a level of testing which the US sees