New Canadian BSE case reignites US import battle

US - A new case of BSE detected in Canada has sparked renewed calls in the US for tighter import regulations on Canadian beef.
calendar icon 20 December 2007
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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on Tuesday confirmed the diagnosis of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a 13-year-old beef cow from Alberta.

The animal was identified by a national surveillance program, which targets cattle most at risk. According to CFIA, the surveillance program results in "an extremely low" incidence of BSE in Canada.

"Canada has a suite of robust BSE control measures exceeding the recommended international standards. This year, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) categorized Canada as a Controlled Risk country for BSE. This status acknowledges the effectiveness of Canada's surveillance, risk mitigation and eradication measures. This case will not affect Canada's risk status," it said in a statement.

However, US producers' association R-Calf claims Canada's controls are "inadequate" to protect the US from the avoidable risk of BSE.

"Had this 13-year-old cow not been detected under Canada's limited, voluntary testing program, the meat from that cow would have been eligible for export to the United States," said R-Calf USA president Max Thornsberry.

The group also accused the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) of taking inadequate measures to protect the US industry.

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