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From: TSS ()
Subject: USDA Office of Inspector General Statement on Audit Work Related to the BSE Test
Date: June 16, 2005 at 3:10 pm PST

USDA Office of Inspector General Statement on Audit Work Related to the BSE Test

Result Announced on June 10, 2005

In August 2004, the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Inspector General

(OIG) issued an audit report on USDA’s BSE Surveillance Program—Phase I. (See

OIG’s website at: OIG made a

number of recommendations to improve the Department’s BSE Surveillance Plan in the

Phase I audit report. Based on our audit findings, we recommended that USDA fully

disclose the assumptions behind its sampling plan, clarify the limitations, and ensure that

all high-risk animals are sampled and tested in accordance with USDA policy and the

2004 Surveillance Plan. We also recommended that USDA expedite development of a

new system to track and report accomplishments, and implement performance measures

and a continuous risk assessment.

Currently, OIG has two audits in progress pertaining to BSE. In our BSE Surveillance

Program—Phase II audit, OIG is monitoring the Department’s implementation of its

BSE Expanded Surveillance Program, involving both APHIS and FSIS. This audit will

evaluate the following: the effectiveness of USDA’s expanded BSE Surveillance

program; the performance of BSE laboratories in meeting their objectives and complying

with program policies and procedures for conducting tests on submitted BSE samples and

reporting test results to APHIS and stakeholders; and the corrective actions taken by

USDA in response to recommendations in the BSE Surveillance Program—Phase I audit

report cited above.

In our Phase III audit, we are evaluating whether the USDA enforcement of the ban on

specified risk materials (SRMs) in meat products and controls to prevent central nervous

system (CNS) tissue in advanced meat recovery (AMR) product have been effectively

implemented. The review also covers FSIS ante mortem condemnation procedures

and procedures for obtaining brain tissue samples from condemned cattle for BSE testing.

In the course of reviewing voluminous records and information gathered during the BSE

Surveillance Program—Phase II audit, OIG auditors noted an unusual pattern of

conflicting test results on one sample and initiated additional testing of that sample. As

announced by USDA on June 10, the sample subsequently rendered a positive result

under the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) recognized SAF immunoblot test.

OIG’s fieldwork on these audits is ongoing. Once the audits are completed, OIG will

report on the specific BSE Enhanced Surveillance Program issues and procedures we

examined, our corresponding findings and recommendations, and USDA’s response

thereto. We anticipate completing and publicly releasing the reports late this summer.


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