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Agriculture Law: RL32199

Agriculture Law: RL32199

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Published by: aglaw on Jan 26, 2008
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Order Code RL32199
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy(BSE, or “Mad Cow Disease”):Current and Proposed Safeguards
Updated May 18, 2007
Sarah A. ListerSpecialist in Public Health and EpidemiologyDomestic Social Policy DivisionGeoffrey S. BeckerSpecialist in Agricultural PolicyResources, Science, and Industry Division
 
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy(BSE, or “Mad Cow Disease”):Current and Proposed Safeguards
Summary
Through mid-May 2007, the United States had confirmed three cases of bovinespongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or “mad cow disease”): the first in December2003 in a Canadian-born cow found in Washington state, the second in June 2005 incow in Texas, and the third in March 2006 in a cow in Alabama.Shortly after the first case, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and otherofficials announced measures to improve existing safeguards against the introductionand spread of BSE. Previously, the major safeguards were: (1) USDA restrictionson imports of ruminants and their products from countries with BSE; (2) a ban onfeeding most mammalian proteins to cattle and other ruminants, issued by the Foodand Drug Administration (FDA); and (3) a targeted domestic surveillance programby USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the agencyresponsible for animal health monitoring and disease control.Some argued that these safeguards were inadequate, as evidenced by findingsof BSE here and subsequent federal efforts to bolster protections. Most new actionsannounced by USDA on December 30, 2003, were under the purview of USDA’sFood Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), responsible for the safety of most U.S.meat and poultry. These actions took effect in January 2004 and included (1) holdingtested carcasses until BSE-negative results are obtained; (2) banning nonambulatory(“downer”) cattle from human food; and (3) banning certain additional animal partsfrom human food. USDA also increased work and spending on a national animalidentification and tracking system, and undertook an enhanced BSE surveillanceprogram, among other activities. On January 26, 2004, FDA announced plannedchanges to its safeguards, including additional bovine materials banned from thehuman foods and cosmetics it regulates; a ban on poultry litter, restaurant waste, andruminant blood products from ruminant feed; and stricter oversight of feed manufact-uring. In lieu of these changes, FDA on October 6, 2005, proposed a ban, in all typesof animal feed, of some higher-risk cattle parts. A final rule is pending.Many Members of the 110
th
Congress continue to closely follow these BSEdevelopments; hearings and legislative proposals on various aspects of the issue arepossible. Among the policy questions have been whether expanded agency actionshave provided further protections against BSE, whether they are scientifically sound,and what costs they may have imposed on consumers, taxpayers, and industry. Alsoat issue have been whether USDA and FDA have effectively implemented andenforced the current safeguards; whether these safeguards will be sufficient to rebuildforeign markets’ confidence in the safety of U.S. beef; and whether other types of actions should be considered, among other questions. Additional U.S. BSE casescould affect these policy deliberations.This report will be updated if significant developments occur.
 
Contents
Introduction......................................................1Overview....................................................1U.S. Cases of BSE.............................................4Safeguards in Place Prior to December 2003.........................5Additional Safeguards After December 2003........................6International Review Team Findings...............................7Trade Restrictions.................................................8International BSE Standards.....................................9Canadian Beef and Cattle Imports................................11Japan and Korea Beef Trade Issues...............................14Assessments of Import Safeguards...............................15Harvard Risk Analysis.....................................15International Review Team.................................16Government Accountability Office...........................17Office of Inspector General.................................172003 Interagency Report...................................18Congressional Role...........................................19The Livestock Feed Ban..........................................20Overview...................................................20The Feed Ban Prior to December 2003............................21Proposed Changes to the Feed Ban...............................22Environmental and Economic Impacts of an SRM Ban in Feed.........25FDA Impact Analysis......................................26Industry Comments.......................................27Earlier NRA/APPI Impact Analysis...........................28NGFA Impact Analysis....................................28Kansas State Impact Analysis...............................28Enforcement of the Feed Ban....................................29FDA Reports............................................29GAO Evaluations.........................................30Feed Testing Program.....................................30The Feed Ban in Canada.......................................31Congressional Role...........................................31BSE Surveillance and Testing in Cattle................................32Overview...................................................32BSE Surveillance in the United States Prior to December 2003.........33Enhanced Surveillance Program.................................33The “Downer” Ban and Impact on Surveillance.................33Initial Proposals for Expanded Surveillance....................34One-Time BSE Enhanced Surveillance Program................34Ongoing Surveillance Plan.................................36Critiques of the Enhanced Surveillance Program................36InconclusiveTest Results.................................38Confirmatory Testing Methods..............................38

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