Food Products Association Applauds USDA for “Sound, Science-Based Response to BSE

(Washington, D.C.) – The Food Products Association (FPA) today applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for actions taken to prevent the spread of BSE in U.S. cattle.

“The response to the discovery in 2003 of BSE in North America has been sound and science-based,” said Cal Dooley, FPA’s President and CEO. “We believe that the interventions and controls developed by the U.S. government and Canada to prevent the spread of BSE in cattle are based on the best science available, and are highly effective in protecting consumers.”

On February 3, USDA Secretary Mike Johanns testified at a hearing by the Senate Agriculture Committee on USDA’s plan to reopen the border to imports of approved cattle and beef products from Canada.

“Both USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have focused on measures to prevent the spread of BSE in cattle, such as the ban on ruminant products in cattle feed,” Dooley noted. “Coupled with this, USDA has conducted extensive surveillance for BSE in U.S. cattle. To date, more than 200,000 samples have been tested, and all samples have been confirmed as negative. Additionally, the use of specified risk materials (SRMs) and downer cattle in the production of food for human consumption is banned. As USDA moves forward with its plan to reopen our borders to approved cattle and beef products from Canada, these rigorous measures will continue to protect the safety of the U.S. food supply.”

Dooley stated “The Administration also should be applauded for its strong efforts to keep all stakeholders – particularly consumers – informed on this issue. The proactive efforts by USDA and FDA to keep consumers fully informed have been instrumental in maintaining a high level of consumer confidence – in the United States and around the world – in the safety of our nation’s food supply.”