March 19, 2004
March 19, 2004 -- On Monday, Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced details for an expanded surveillance effort for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States.
?We are committed to ensuring that a robust U.S. surveillance program continues in this country,? said Veneman. ?This one-time extensive surveillance plan reflects the recommendation of the international scientific review panel.?
The primary focus of USDA?s enhanced surveillance effort will continue to be the highest risk populations for BSE, but USDA will greatly increase the number of target animals surveyed and will include a random sampling of apparently normal, aged animals. Using statistically geographic modeling, the enhanced program could detect BSE even if there were only five positive animals in the entire country.
The sampling of apparently normal animals will come from the 40 U.S. slaughter plants that handle 86 percent of the aged cattle processed for human consumption each year. It is anticipated that the program will be ready to be fully implemented June 1, 2004.
Staff contact: Paul Rodgers, 304-647-9981