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From: TSS (
Subject: Tele-News Conference regarding BSE issues Release No. 0502.04
Date: November 18, 2004 at 11:36 am PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Tele-News Conference regarding BSE issues Release No. 0502.04
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 13:33:02 -0600
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

##################### Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy #####################


Release No. 0502.04
Tele-News Conference regarding BSE issues with
Dr. Andrea Morgan, Associate Deputy Administrator for Veterinary
Services with the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and Dr. Keith
Collins, USDA Chief Economist
November 18, 2004
Washington, D.C.

MR. JIM ROGERS: "Good morning everybody. This is Jim Rogers with
the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services Legislative and Public
Affairs Office. Today we have with us Dr. Andrea Morgan. She is the
associate deputy administrator for our Veterinary Services Program. She
will be giving a brief statement today followed by some question and

"So at this point I'm going to turn it over to Dr. Morgan."

DR. ANDREA MORGAN: "Thanks, Jim. Good morning, everybody.

"Early this morning we were notified that an inconclusive BSE test
result was received on a rapid screening test used as part of our
enhanced BSE surveillance program. The inconclusive result does not
mean we have found another case of BSE in this country. Inconclusive
results are a normal component of screening tests, which are designed to
be extremely sensitive so that they will detect any samples that could
possibly be positive.

"Tissue samples are now being sent to USDA's National Veterinary
Services Laboratories, which is the national BSE reference lab which
will run confirmatory testing.

"Because this test is only an inconclusive test result, we are not
disclosing details specific to this test at this time.

"APHIS has begun internal steps to begin initial trace-backs if
further testing were to return a positive result. However, it is
important to note that this animal did not enter the food or the feed chain.

"Confirmatory results are expected back from NVSL within the next
four to seven days. And if the test comes back positive for BSE we will
then be providing additional information about the animal and its origin.

"USDA remains confident in the safety of the U.S. beef supply, our
ban on specified risk materials from the human food chain provides the
protection to public health should another case of BSE ever be detected
in the United States.

"Screening tests are often used in both human and animal health, and
therefore inconclusive are not unexpected. These tests cast a very wide
net and many end up negative during further testing.


"And some subset of these animals may even turn out to be positive
for BSE. While none of us wants to see that happen, that is not
unexpected. Our surveillance program is designed to test as many
animals as we can in the populations that are considered to be at high
risk for BSE. And as of Monday November 15, we've tested a little over
113,000 samples. We have had two inconclusive, and as of this report
this now represents the third inconclusive.

"Additional measures to strengthen public health safeguards include:
our longstanding ban on the imports of live cattle, other ruminants, and
most ruminant products from high-risk countries for BSE; FDA's 1997
prohibition on the use of most mammalian protein in cattle feed, an
aggressive surveillance program that's been in place for more than a
decade, the banning of nonambulatory cattle from the human food chain,
the process-control requirements for establishments using advanced meat
recovery AMR systems, prohibiting the air-injection stunning of cattle,
and lastly if an animal presented for slaughter is sampled for BSE,
holding that carcass until the test results have been confirmed negative.

"And that concludes our statement."

MR. ROGERS: "All right, Operator. At this time we'd like to open
the floor to questions. In addition to Dr. Andrea Morgan we also have
with us Dr. Keith Collins. He is the USDA's chief economist, who can
answer questions as well."

OPERATOR: "Thank you. At this time we will begin the question and
answer session. If you would like to ask a question, you may do so by
pressing *1. You will be prompted to record your first and last name.
To withdraw your request, press *2. One moment please for our first

"Our first question comes from Sally Schuff of Feedstuffs."

QUESTION: "Yes, good morning. And I apologize. I got on the call
a little bit late.

"Can you tell me, was the inclusive determined as the result of the
first or a combination of the first and second rapid tests?"

DR. MORGAN: "It's a combination of the testing per the protocols
that we are now following."

MR. ROGERS: "Operator, next question, please?"

OPERATOR: "Thank you. Once again, to ask a question please press *1.

"Our next question comes from Bill Tomson of Dow Jones."

QUESTION: "Hello. Am I understanding this right that you actually
got two inconclusive results?"

DR. MORGAN: "No, sir. Prior to this announcement today of our
third inconclusive test result, back in July we announced two
inconclusive tests. So this now represents our third inconclusive test



OPERATOR: "Our next question comes from Jerry Hagstrom of Congress

QUESTION: "Good morning. I seem to recall that there was some kind
of change in policy that when you first started doing this testing you
were making an announcement right after the first test, and then you
changed this because everybody got upset that it was released, you
know, inconclusive, and that upset the markets; and then you were going
to be stricter on these.

"How does this -- am I right about that? And is this different?
Has there been more testing than there would have been on the first one
or two that you announced?"

DR. MORGAN: "Thank you for the question. And as an explanation,
what we're doing now is, the test in itself represents, you do one test
and then you repeat that test. What we were doing prior to the new
protocol is, we were announcing an inconclusive after that initial
indication of a possible inconclusive.

"What we're now doing is, we are allowing the submitting laboratory
to rerun the test and to see if we get another indication of a
possibility of an inconclusive. And so that's now, this particular
inconclusive as we're reporting it is an indication that in the initial
run we had an indication of an inconclusive. We allowed the submitting
laboratory to rerun the test, and they got yet another indication on
the rerun of an inconclusive."

MR. ROGERS: "Operator, next question, please?"

OPERATOR: "Our next question comes from Chris Clayton of the Omaha
World Herald."

QUESTION: "Thank you. That last question, to clarify that-- so you
have had more than one test on this. And I apologize. I also jumped in
late, but when exactly was this animal first tested?"

DR. MORGAN: "There is a press statement that is going out and
actually has I think gone out prior to this call. So that perhaps will
give you some more information. And it was early this morning that we
were notified of this test result."

MR. ROGERS: "Next question, please?"

OPERATOR: "Once again, to ask a question please press *1. One moment.

"Our next question comes from Christina Bilsky (sp) of Nikkei

QUESTION: "Hi. Thanks for taking my question. It's a Japanese
newspaper in EK.

"You mentioned you had as of the 15th Monday you had tested 113,000
cattle. What was the starting date for that? Would you remind us, please?"

DR. MORGAN: "For our enhanced surveillance effort representing
those numbers, June 1, 2004."


OPERATOR: "Our next question comes from Daniel Goldstein of
Bloomberg News."

QUESTION: "Yeah, hi. Can you tell us whether the animal that you
tested was part of the, quote, "high risk" category, or was this part of
the 20,000 of the so-called healthy animals that you were planning to test?"

DR. MORGAN: "The animal is part of the targeted high-risk population."

MR. ROGERS: "Next question, please."

OPERATOR: "Our next question is from Jackie Fatka of Farm Progress."

QUESTION: "Good morning. If this is a confirmed BSE case, can you
talk about ongoing negotiations with Japan and other markets that we
have finally made a little bit of progress on what this might do for
those negotiations?"

MR. ROGERS: "I'm sorry, Jackie. Could you please repeat your

OPERATOR: "One moment, please. Ms. Fatka, please repeat your

QUESTION: "Hi, this is Jackie Fatka from Farm Progress. And I
would like you to speak on how this might affect ongoing negotiations if
this is a confirmed BSE case."

DR. MORGAN: "Thank you for the question. I myself am not involved
in those negotiations. However, I would not expect that that would
affect them because of the response that we would be taking and the
measures as I mentioned a moment ago that we have already taken to date."

MR. ROGERS: "Next question, please?"

OPERATOR: "At this time, Mr. Rogers, there are no additional

MR. ROGERS: "Excellent. Then at this time, we would like to
conclude the call. I'd like to thank everyone who called in today. As
we have already said, there is currently a press statement on the USDA
website at WWW.USDA.GOV. And if any of the members of the media have
further questions you can reach me at 202-690-4755. And one additional
item, for those reporters that I know out there who didn't get the
spelling of Dr. Morgan's name, it's A-N-D-R-E-A M-O-R-G-A-N. She's
the associate deputy administrator for Veterinary Services with the
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

"This concludes the call. Thank you again."

202 720-4623


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