December 7, 2000
Background Paper on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
The following information was prepared by USDA/APHIS/Veterinary Services to answer questions related to the status of BSE in the United States and products imported into the United States.
Overview: BSE is not known to exist in the United States, and the United States satisfies the criteria set by the Office of International Epizooties to be recognized as a BSE free country. As of August 4, 1997, FDA prohibited the feeding of most mammalian protein to ruminants (for example, rendered material from cattle, sheep and goats cannot be fed to these ruminants).
|1.||Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
has NOT been detected in the United States, and
USDA has worked aggressively and proactively since 1989
to keep it that way. The measures APHIS has taken in this
regard include prohibitions and/or restrictions on
certain animal and product imports; ongoing surveillance
for signs of the disease in the United States;
preparation of an emergency response plan in the unlikely
event an introduction were to occur; and ongoing
educational efforts. APHIS actively shares information
and coordinates closely with other Federal agencies, as
well as the States, livestock and affiliated industries,
veterinary and research communities, and consumer groups,
in order to ensure that the U.S. has a uniform approach
to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies which is
based on sound scientific information.
The importation of all live ruminants (bovines, progeny of affected cattle, sheep, goats, etc.) is prohibited from the United Kingdom, other countries which have reported BSE, and the remaining countries of Europe due to high risk factors associated with BSE. The regulations are in Title 9 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 92. The prohibition for countries known to have BSE was effective July 1989. The prohibition on the remaining countries of Europe was effective as of December 12, 1997.
In addition, Title 9 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 94, 95, and 96 prohibit the entry of most ruminant products including meat and bone meal, blood meal, bone meal, offal, etc., from the countries as listed above. The prohibition for countries known to have BSE was effective 1989. The prohibition on the remaining countries of Europe was effective as of December 12, 1997.
APHIS has had a comprehensive surveillance program in place in the United States (since 1990) to ensure timely detection and swift response in the unlikely event that an introduction of BSE were to occur. This surveillance program incorporates both the location of imports from the United Kingdom or other countries which have detected BSE, and targeted active and passive surveillance for either BSE or any other TSE in cattle.
Samples of BSE surveillance of adult cattle are obtained from:
Cattle showing evidence of neurologic disease when presented for slaughter are condemned upon antemortem inspection. Samples of brain tissue are submitted for diagnosis to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory.
As of October 31, 2000, over 11,700 brains had been examined for BSE or another form of a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy in cattle. The use of immunohistochemistry for the detection of the abnormal form of the prion protein was introduced in 1994. As of 1997 our surveillance tests all samples submitted to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory by both histopathology and immunohistochemistry. No evidence of either condition has been found.
|2.||BSE is a legally reportable disease in the United States under Title 9 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 161 and 71, effective November 1986.|
|3.||Scrapie is a legally reportable disease in the United States under Title 9 CFR Parts 161, 71, and 79.|
|4.||Tissues from BSE suspect cases must be submitted for a laboratory diagnosis in the United States under Title 9 CFR Parts 161 and 71, effective November 1986.|
|5.||Tissues from scrapie suspect cases must be submitted for a laboratory diagnosis in the United States under Title 9 CFR Parts 161, 71, 79, and 54.|
|6.||The feeding of most mammalian protein to ruminants has been prohibited under the authority of the Food and Drug Administration. The regulation is in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulation, Part 589. This was effective as of August 4, 1997.|
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