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Study On Voluntary BSE Testing

05 April 2011

CANADA - A study just released offers information on the costs and benefits of voluntary BSE testing of Canadian cattle.

The study, funded by the Alberta Prion Research Institute, PrioNet Canada, and the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, is intended to encourage discussion within the cattle industry.

The study analysed whether the costs for the beef industry to perform client-driven optional BSE testing could be recaptured through market premiums.

It concludes there is potential value in pursuing voluntary BSE testing, with qualifications. On the flip side, the study indicates a range of considerations arise in terms of potential adverse market impacts with voluntary BSE testing and would need to be appropriately addressed.

Those considerations include: some consumers perceive non-tested product as unsafe, there are no price premiums for tested product, trade risks from testing, and testing works against Canada’s position that trade rules be science based.

The study also suggests the costs associated with implementing a BSE test are relatively low. The estimated cost of post-mortem testing is $40 per head. It is expected that ante-mortem tests (of live animals), if a test is developed, would reduce BSE testing costs to approximately $15 per head.

The results of the study suggest that the economic potential is likely to exist to successfully market a BSE-tested product in Asian export markets, with Japan the focus here. This market potential would be as a niche, and the nature of these markets is such that the potential that may exist for tested product will need to be developed proactively. This study suggests that market will not be motivated or developed by importers themselves.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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