USDA: existing safeguards protect food supply, beef is safe
Recent case of mad cow disease presented no risk to US food supply
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has reiterated that existing safeguards protect the American food supply and that consuming beef and dairy products is safe, in the wake of a recent confirmed case of mad cow disease in California.
"This animal was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply, or to human health in the United States," said the USDA of the infected cow. The animal has since been humanely euthanized.
The U.S. has a system of three interlocking safeguards against Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, BSE, that protects public and animal health. The first is the removal of specified risk materials — or the parts of an animal that would contain BSE should an animal have the disease — from all animals presented for slaughter in the U.S. The second safeguard is a feed ban that protects cattle from the disease. The third safeguard is an ongoing BSE surveillance program that allows the USDA to detect the disease if it exists at very low levels in the U.S. cattle population and provides assurances to consumers and international trading partners that the interlocking system of safeguards in place to prevent BSE are working.
In addition, the USDA has announced a new tracing method for meat and poultry contaminated with E. coli, meant to track tainted product more effectively.