Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
Statement Regarding BSE
Americans can be confident in the safety of US beef for a number of reasons:
- The BSE
agent is not found in meat like steaks and roasts. It is found in central
nervous system tissue such as brain and spinal cord.
- All US
cattle are inspected by a USDA inspector or veterinarian before going
to slaughter. Animals with any signs of neurological disorder are tested
for BSE. USDA regulations prevent non-ambulatory cattle from entering the food chain.
- BSE affects
older cattle, typically over 30 months of age. The vast majority of
the cattle going to market in the US are less than 24 months old.
- The US
began a surveillance program for BSE in 1990 and was the first country
without the disease within its borders to test cattle for the disease.
The surveillance system targets all cattle with any signs of neurological
disorder as well as those over 30 months of age and animals that are
- The US
banned imports of cattle and bovine products from countries with BSE
beginning in 1989.
- The only
way BSE spreads is through contaminated feed. The US Food & Drug
Administration in 1997 instituted a ban on feeding ruminant-derived
meat and bone meal supplements to cattle. This is a firewall that prevents
the spread of BSE to other animals if it were present in the US.
The USDA opened the US/Canadian border on October 19, 2007. Colorado requires that all Canadian cattle remaining in Colorado be identified permanently.
information go to www.BSEinfo.org.