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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Washington, DC, November 23, 2004 – The American Meat Institute (AMI) today said it was gratified by news that an “inconclusive” test result for BSE or 'Mad Cow Disease’ ultimately tested negative. USDA announced the negative test results late this afternoon.

“Americans can rest assured that the firewalls put into effect to fight BSE more than 15 years ago are proving very effective,” noted AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle. Since June, more than 120,000 high risk cattle have been tested for BSE, and not a single additional case has been found. The only case of BSE in the U.S. was discovered in December 2003 and came from a dairy cow of Canadian origin.

Some scientists and industry officials say it is possible that the enhanced surveillance may detect additional cases, but say this poses no food safety issue. "To me, one, two, three, five other cases is not a crisis," William Hueston, a University of Minnesota veterinary epidemiologist and a member of a BSE advisory panel convened at the request of USDA Secretary Ann Veneman after the first BSE incident last December.

“Regardless of future test results, however, consumers should be confident that the beef supply is safe. The BSE agent has never been detected in beef and the tissues that can contain the agent if an animal has BSE are removed during processing and not permitted for human consumption,” Boyle said. “It’s also important to remember that we’ve been fighting BSE in the United States for over a decade by taking proactive steps to stop the spread of the disease among cattle – long before we found a single case in 2003,” Boyle added.

For more information, Boyle urged consumers to visit www.meatsafety.org.


For more information contact:
Dave Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
Ayoka Blandford
Manager, Public Affairs

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