Canada tests for BSE

Canadian officials have confirmed tests are being carried out on a mature cross-bred beef cow suspected of having bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The Provence of Manitoba and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CIFA) did preliminary screening tests on the cow, born well before Canada imposed limitations on the feeding of ruminant protein to cattle in 1997.

CIFA was keen to emphasise there is no risk to humans. A spokesperson said: "No part of the animal's carcase entered the human food or animal feed systems. Samples have been sent to the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg for confirmatory testing. Final results are expected next week.

"CIFA has begun a preliminary examination of the animal's history. If confirmatory testing yields positive results, a full investigation, conducted in accordance with international standards, will be launched."

Strict new regulations, which ban the use of BSE-susceptible cattle tissue as food for cattle, are now in force and a CIFA spokesperson said this will cut the chances of the disease spreading: "Enhancements to Canada's feed ban, announced on 26 June, 2006, will accelerate the eradication of the disease from the national

cattle herd by preventing more than 99% of any potential BSE infectivity from entering the

Canadian feed system."

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