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CSPI On Potential New Mad Cow Case

Statement of CSPI Food Safety Director Caroline Smith DeWaal

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The inconclusive test result that may lead to a second finding of mad cow disease in the U.S. raises numerous questions about why the Bush Administration has delayed implementing promised protections against Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.

Last December, the Department of Agriculture promised they would implement a nationwide animal identification program, but today there is no system in place to trace an infected cow back to its farm of origin. Last winter, the Food and Drug Administration promised to ban specified risk materials from all animal feed but the agency never finalized rules to accomplish this. Finally, there is no mandatory recall system in place if meat from an infected animal is sold to consumers. That's what happened last year when a BSE-infected cow was found in Washington state.

While there is probably no risk to the public, the lack of mandatory animal identification and mandatory recall, and the absense of a complete ban on specified risk material in animal and human food, leaves consumers and cattle producers vulnerable in many ways if the cow in question is found to have BSE.

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Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).