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.”
AMI Statement on OIG Report: BSE Prevention Programs Working, Continue to Be StrengthenedThursday, February 2, 2006
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