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APHIS Ban on MBMs Just a Precautionary Measure, Agency Head Said

Wednesday, December 20, 2000

While no cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or "mad cow disease" have been found in the U.S., Dr. Craig Reed, of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the agency’s decision to ban the import of meat and bone meal products from Europe is based on “sound science and extensive research.”
Reed, administrator of APHIS, said yesterday the agency will continue “to take aggressive measures to protect the United States from BSE introduction and to ensure the security of U.S. export markets.”
These measures include active surveillance, testing, prevention, education and emergency preparation, Reed said.
“In 1998, USDA entered into a cooperative agreement with Harvard University's School of Public Health to analyze and evaluate the Department's efforts to prevent BSE. A report is expected to be issued early next year," Reed said.
On December 7, the USDA took an “emergency action” in prohibiting the import of all rendered animal protein products, regardless of species, from Europe. The move mirrored actions taken by the European Union in November to prevent the spread of BSE. The EU banned the feed of non-ruminant origin, which they determined was potentially cross-contaminated with the BSE agent.
The same type of rendered product from ruminant origin has been banned from BSE infected countries since 1989 and all of Europe since 1997. The complete text of Reed’s remarks can be read at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/press/2000/12/reed.12.19.txt.

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