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AMI Statement on OIG Report: BSE Prevention Programs Working, Continue to Be Strengthened

Thursday, February 2, 2006
 

The following statement should be attributed to James H. Hodges, President, American Meat Institute Foundation:

“It is reassuring to know that our nation’s BSE prevention programs are working and that they continue to be strengthened. The Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) retrospective look at our BSE prevention programs is the kind of transparent process, when coupled with more than 15 years of continual review of our BSE prevention strategies, that continues to shore up public confidence in the safety of American beef. In that regard, the multiple firewalls that create a shield against BSE ensure the American public that the beef supply is safe and wholesome.

Despite the miniscule level of risk for BSE in the live cattle population, the U.S. requires compliance with extraordinary measures in meatpacking plants to provide additional assurances that the beef supply is safe. More than 65 million head of cattle have been USDA inspected, passed and processed since the first case of BSE was diagnosed in the U.S. This strict, continuous government oversight, coupled with the extremely low occurrence of BSE in the U.S., ensures meat safety. It is critically important to recognize that OIG found no evidence that any specified risk materials (SRMs) entered the food supply.

The report also underscores the overall success of the BSE surveillance system. Experts agree that the public health risk of BSE in the U.S. is virtually zero, and this belief has been borne out by the fact that with more than 605,000 at-risk animals tested, only one domestic case has ever been found here. Indeed, if BSE still exists in the U.S., it is successfully being eradicated.”


For more information contact:
David Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
202-587-4243
dray@meatinstitute.org
Janet Riley
Sr. Vice President, Public Affairs
202-587-4245
jriley@meatinstitute.org

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