Sunday, July 30, 2006

USDA Bans Import of Older Canadian Cattle Beef Due to Mad Cow Concerns

From the Calgary Sun:

July 29, 2006
Small beef over cow delay --Minimal impact expected after U.S. postpones lifting ban on older cattle


The latest U.S. beef over mad cow disease in Canada has delayed the border reopening but only temporarily, say cattle experts.

National agencies, including the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA), insisted yesterday any impact on the industry would be minimal after the American government decided to push back lifting a ban on imports of older cattle from Canada.

Echoing the sentiments of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), CCA spokesman Rob McNabb said it's simply another frustrating delay the beef industry has endured since mad cow disease shut down the border to Canadian cows in May 2003.

"It's rattling some cages, but it's not terribly surprising," McNabb said. "It's just
another delay that's obviously disappointing, and unfortunately we've been faced
with a number of those."

The U.S. Agriculture Department said yesterday more cases of mad cow disease have postponed the reopening to older Canadian cattle pending an investigation into the latest case.

Canada has found seven cows infected with mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Four have tested positive for the disease this year.

Some were born after the Canadian government implemented safety precautions related to cattle feed to prevent livestock from getting the brain-wasting illness.

The U.S. government was poised to resume imports of older cattle, but the agriculture department halted those plans to await the completion of investigations into Canada's recent cases.

"This time, the delay is a little more sensational, because they've had to take back the rule after having submitted it to the office of management and business in the U.S.," McNabb said.

"They have to do that to add information even if it's just in the background of the rule relative to the latest case that we're investigating, and they can't add that until they have the final investigation report from CFIA."

McNabb added the issue is with the process as the rule can't change while it's in the office of management and budget.

I'm a little confused with the USDA's actions at this point. They're banning some Canadian beef yet reducing testing in US cows? I'm all for being cautious towards imported beef, but how about being more cautious with our own?

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