Canada clears most cattle in suspect feed case

CANADA - Canadian veterinary officials lifted restrictions on about 7,700 cattle on Wednesday that had been part of a contaminated feed investigation after confirming they did not eat suspect foodstuff.
calendar icon 5 January 2007
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But another 2,450 cattle remain confined to 26 farms in Quebec while officials study how many of them ate feed that may have contained trace amounts of meat and bone meal made from cattle -- material banned from cattle feed because of the risk of spreading bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease.

The chance that the cattle could develop mad cow disease is remote, said Brian Evans of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canada's chief veterinarian.

"The potential for BSE infectivity is very, very low," Evans said, noting most of the animals are mature dairy cattle.

Canada has had eight cases of mad cow disease in its domestic herd since May 2003, and hopes to eradicate the disease within a decade.

Humans can develop a rare form of the fatal brain-wasting disease from eating contaminated meat, and 200 people worldwide have died from it, mainly during a British outbreak of BSE in the 1980s.

The restricted cattle can be slaughtered and consumed in Canada, where food safety rules ban all brains, spines and other material that can harbor mad cow disease.

Source: Reuters

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