Spring 2012 Newsletter
From the Director
Stephen B. Hooser
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
On April 24th, the USDA confirmed the nation’s 4th case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in an animal that was sampled for the disease at a rendering facility in central California. This animal was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food and milk supply, or to human health in the United States. This case was determined to be caused by an atypical form BSE, meaning that it was not the same BSE agent as that which was responsible for “Mad Cow Disease”
As stated by Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA and graduate of the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine, “The finding of this BSE-positive cow is not particularly surprising, and it is certainly no cause for alarm. It is not surprising because we have known for several years that there is a very low prevalence of BSE in our nation’s cattle population. USDA has maintained a good, targeted surveillance program for the disease, and it is expected that we might find such cases periodically. This finding is not cause for alarm because the tissues of any infected cows that pose a food safety risk, i.e. specified risk materials or SRMs, have been kept out of the human food supply since early 2004. What this finding does confirm is that the safeguards put in place by the USDA several years ago are working as they are intended.”
The ADDL West Lafayette and Heeke facilities contribute to BSE surveillance in Indiana and the U.S. through their participa-tion in the USDA National Animal Health Laboratory Network and through collection and submission of cattle tissues for BSE surveillance testing. Since testing began, there have not been any cases of BSE detected in Indiana cattle.
Indiana ADDL, 406 S University St, West Lafayette, IN 47907. (765) 494-7440
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