SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Food and Agriculture, in conjunction with an advisory group that includes the livestock industry, is unveiling a new mad cow disease prevention plan for California.
Although the U.S. has never had a case of mad cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), recent detection of a case in Alberta, Canada triggered a review of California’s preventive steps. As a result, several new safeguards are being introduced.
“Just one cow with BSE in Canada caused more than a billion dollars in losses to the cattle industry there, so we need to make sure we take the best steps possible to keep the disease out of California and the U.S.,” said CDFA Secretary William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr. “The advisory group was able to find ways to make an excellent program even better. Consumers and agriculture will benefit from this effort.”
The primary risk of BSE introduction is through ruminant animal feeds containing proteins from other ruminants. Cattle, goats, sheep and similar animals are ruminants.
The new measures include a 200 percent increase in ruminant feed testing, and a new, more sensitive lab analysis technique that allows for a tenfold increase in testing capacity. In addition, there will be increased inspections of all licensed feed manufacturer and mixers, and on other facilities that handle certain kinds of feeds.
“The measuring stick for continued prevention is straightforward,” said Secretary Lyons. “If ruminant animals do not eat infected protein, we will stop the threat of BSE. These new measures signal that we remain on the right track.”
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814