Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is talking with the executive vice president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Michael Kelsey, about atypical BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy).
On May 19, the USDA announced an atypical case of BSE in a cow at a slaughter plant in South Carolina. This animal never entered slaughter channels and at no time presented a risk to the food supply or to human health. Due to the United States’ negligible risk status for BSE, USDA does not expect any trade impacts as a result of this finding.
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed that this cow was positive for atypical L-type BSE. The animal was tested as part of APHIS’s routine surveillance of cattle that are deemed unsuitable for slaughter. The radio frequency identification tag present on the animal is associated with a herd in Tennessee.
“What we do know in all of these cases is that none of the products, that beef from these animals, enters the food chain,” Kelsey said. “All of this testing is done ahead of time- either when the animal is at slaughter or before and set aside until that test comes back. Once that test is clear, the product can move through.”
If an animal tests positive for BSE, Kelsey said the entire carcass is condemned.
In the past 20 years, Kelsey said the beef industry has improved significantly in successfully keeping the food supply safe. One of those methods, Kelsey added, is through the use of EID tags.
“I am hopeful that we understand better how that type of animal identification can help us in this type, or any type of animal disease surveillance or traceback to quickly, accurately, and efficiently move through the process and get information that is accurate and complete, and keep the beef supply chain moving at an efficient manner,” Kelsey said.
These types of atypical cases, Kelsey said, are naturally occurring and extremely rare. Because of the robust testing and protocol system in the U.S., Kelsey said this atypical case of BSE did not have an impact on the beef supply chain.
“We can continue to enjoy beef knowing that we have one of the safest beef supply chains in the entire world,” Kelsey said.
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