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From: TSS ()
Date: February 11, 2005 at 1:05 pm PST

-------- Original Message --------
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 15:09:27 -0600
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy


OTTAWA, February 11, 2005  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has
concluded its investigation into the latest case of bovine spongiform
encephalopathy (BSE) confirmed on January 11, 2005. All animals tested
through the investigation were found negative for BSE.

The Agencys investigation determined that 349 animals comprised the
birth cohort, which includes cattle born on the farm of origin within 12
months before and 12 months after the affected animal. Of this group, 41
animals were found alive, were euthanized and tested negative for BSE.
Most of the other animals from the birth cohort had previously died or
been slaughtered. The investigation also identified the affected
animals two most recently born offspring. One calf, born in 2003, had
been slaughtered and the other, born in 2004 and too young to be tested
for BSE, was euthanized.

Canadas feed ban was introduced in 1997 as a proactive precaution. At
that time, it is likely that the feed ban was not immediately adopted
uniformly across the feed industry. Prohibited materials would have been
purged from the ruminant feed system as Canadian renderers, feed
manufacturers, retailers, distributors and producers developed,
implemented and refined new operating processes. Similar experiences
have been observed in all countries with BSE that have implemented feed
controls. Based on this understanding, the detection of an affected
animal born after the feed ban was not unexpected.

The feed component of the investigation determined that BSE may have
been transmitted to the affected animal through feed produced shortly
after the feed ban was introduced. However, exact production dates for
the feeds under investigation are unavailable.

Surveillance findings, inspection reports, international risk
assessments and previous investigations indicate that the ban has
successfully limited the spread of BSE over time. Nonetheless, the
Agency is committed to continuously improving Canadas BSE safeguards.
Canadian officials are currently conducting a review to gain a detailed,
current snapshot of how the feed ban is working. Concurrently, proposed
enhancements to the feed ban are moving through the regulatory process,
the comment period for which closes on February 24. These changes
require the removal of specified risk material (SRM) from all animal
feeds. This action will minimize the risks associated with any potential
cross contamination or on-farm misuse, thereby increasing the speed with
which BSE would be eradicated from the national cattle herd. SRM are
tissues that, in affected cattle, contain the BSE agent.

The feed ban is an animal health measure, intended to limit the spread
of BSE and eradicate the disease over time. Food safety continues to be
protected by the removal of SRM from all cattle slaughtered for human
consumption. This measure is internationally recognized as the most
effective way to protect the safety of the human food supply from BSE.

- 30 -

For information:

Please see attached document: Report of the Investigation of the Third
Case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in Alberta, Canada

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Media relations: (613) 228-6682

* Main Page - BSE in North America



On January 4 , 2005, a beef cow in Innisfail, Alberta was euthanized and
sampled by a private veterinarian under Canadas National BSE
Surveillance Program. Brain samples from the animal were sent to an
Alberta provincial laboratory where they were screened for BSE using a
Bio-Rad rapid test and produced a reaction on January 6, 2005 and again
on January 7, 2005. Brain samples were then sent to the Canadian Science
Centre for Human and Animal Health in Winnipeg where BSE was confirmed,
using the immunohistochemistry procedure for BSE on January 11, 2005. No
part of the cow entered the human food or feed chain. The carcass was
secured from the index premises and transferred to the CFIA Lethbridge
Laboratory where it was subsequently incinerated.

The CFIA immediately initiated an epidemiological investigation along
three lines of inquiry, based on World Animal Health Organization (OIE)
guidelines, namely:

* calves born to the affected cow during the two years prior to the
onset of clinical signs;
* the birth cohort (cattle born on the farm of origin within 12
months before and 12 months after the birth of the affected
animal); and
* feed to which the animal may have been exposed early in its life.

Animal Investigation

The affected Charolais beef cow was just under seven years old at the
time of death, having been born on March 21, 1998. The animal remained
on the farm of birth during its entire life. The cow had separated from
the herd, experienced loss of condition and eventually hind-limb
dysfunction that the owner attributed to injury. A private veterinary
practitioner was consulted and the animal was euthanized and sampled for
BSE testing.

The investigation revealed that the animal had two progeny born within
the previous two years, one of which was confirmed to have been
slaughtered. The other has been euthanized and incinerated at the CFIA
Lethbridge Laboratory. This animal was not tested for BSE because it was
less than one year of age.

The birth cohort was determined to comprise 349 animals. The trace-out
investigation of the birth cohort located 41 live animals that were
subsequently euthanized, sampled and tested negative for BSE. These
animals were disposed of by incineration. Because birth cohort cattle
would be five-to-seven years old today, most had previously been
slaughtered or had died of natural causes. The other 308 animals were
traced as follows:

* 273 animals were confirmed to be dead or slaughtered in Canada
* 32 animals had died on the farm of origin
* three animals were deemed untraceable because of inadequate records.

Feed Investigation

A thorough investigation into feed purchases, feeding practices,
manufacturing processes and documentation was undertaken at the farm of
origin, feed manufacturers and retailers. The investigation revealed
that the index animal was exposed to four commercial feed sources (calf
ration, creep feed, and two mineral supplements) during its early
development that may have been the source of infection. Although these
four feed sources should not have contained ruminant meat and bone meal
(MBM), the possibility that one or more of them may have been
contaminated cannot be ruled out. The feed manufacturers were handling
ruminant MBM for the manufacture of non-ruminant feeds during the
time-frame of interest. These feed sources were likely manufactured a
short time after the feed ban was implemented, however, as historical
production records were not available, manufacturing dates could not be

Investigation Overview

Consistent with risk assessments and knowledge derived from previous
investigations, this most recent case of BSE was not entirely
unexpected. The first case, detected in May, 2003, indicated that Canada
had a low, previously undetected incidence of BSE. Since that time,
Canadas national surveillance program, which targets cattle most likely
to be affected by BSE, has tested more than 30,000 animals. With this
testing intensity and focus, the sporadic detection of a small number of
additional cases was anticipated. Both the age and number of animals
identified through intensified surveillance testing continues to suggest
that the level of BSE in Canada is low and declining. The fact that the
feed ban was introduced almost six years prior to the detection of BSE
in a native-born animal in May, 2003, has been extremely important in
preventing amplification and limiting the spread of BSE. These cases
also demonstrate the integrity of Canadas surveillance system and the
commitment of Canadian cattle producers and veterinarians to responsibly
and pro-actively report animals for testing.

This investigation identified that certain feed materials, likely
manufactured a short time after the implementation of Canadas feed ban,
may have been contaminated. This finding is consistent with the
experience of all countries with BSE which have implemented feed bans.
As with any major policy that requires restructuring of operations, some
time may have been required for the feed ban to be implemented
completely and uniformly. Renderers, feed manufacturers, retailers,
distributors and producers were required to develop and implement new
processes into their operations. These processes included sequencing and
flushing systems in feed mills manufacturing a variety of feed sources,
as well as new label requirements and enhanced record keeping generally.
As these changes were being developed, implemented and refined, it is
possible that some ruminant feed produced shortly after the feed ban
became contaminated with prohibited materials.

The feed ban is an important animal health measure whose primary
objective is to curtail the spread of BSE in a cattle population, and
that is why, in 1997, Canada implemented this measure, in advance of the
detection of any native cases. The degree of effectiveness of the feed
ban can influence the length of time it could take to completely
eliminate the disease from a cattle herd population. It is clear that
Canadas feed ban has been effective enough to limit the occurrence of
BSE in Canada to an extremely low level and lead to elimination of the
disease over time. The results of Canadas surveillance program to date
bear this out, based on the small number of cases found and the age of
the affected animals. Given that the incubation period of BSE is
influenced by the level of infectivity to which an animal is exposed
(the higher the exposure, the shorter the incubation period, and vice
versa), the older age of the affected animals indicates that the level
of contamination in the feed source would have been very low, even
before the feed ban was implemented. Notwithstanding short delays in the
implementation of the feed ban in 1997, there is a strong basis to
believe that the feed ban, as designed and delivered, is doing its job.
Proposed enhancements to the ban would serve to further shorten the time
required to achieve complete elimination of BSE from Canada.

While the feed ban is an important BSE animal health measure, the
detection of this animal, born after its introduction, does not impact
on the safety of meat currently being produced in Canada. Following the
initial detection of BSE, the Government of Canada moved quickly to
implement the most effective public health measure that a BSE-affected
country could take by requiring the removal of specified risk materials
(SRM) from all cattle slaughtered in Canada. Removal of SRM is verified
by inspection staff of the CFIA and provincial and territorial
counterparts. This science-based measure ensures that consumers in
Canada and in importing countries are effectively protected from
exposure to BSE infectivity in meat products produced in Canada.

With respect to birth cohorts slaughtered prior to the July 2003
implementation of the requirement to remove SRM from the food chain, a
number of factors contribute to the very low risk associated with meat
from these animals. These include the fact that the majority of animals
slaughtered for beef consumption in Canada are between 18-22 months of
age and are, therefore, considerably less likely to develop infective
levels of the disease, that all animals in the federal system are
subjected to ante and post mortem inspection, that the "within herd"
incidence of BSE is a rare event which has been reconfirmed by the
recent Canadian experience in which no additional BSE positive animals
have been found upon tracing and testing, and finally, that the highest
level of prions are located in the brain, spinal cord and eyes, all of
which are not generally included in the diets of the majority of Canadians.


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