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November 10, 2008

              
Canadian agency lists feed as possible host of mad cow disease

                
              

The Canada Food Inspection Agency says a B.C. feed manufacturer is the most likely source of the country's 13th case of mad cow disease.

 

Canada brought in changes more than a decade ago to stop animal products from being fed to cattle, sheep and goats and prevent the transfer of bovine spongiform encephalopathy into the food chain.

 

But Dr. Connie Argue of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Thursday that one of the most recent cases of BSE and all 12 previous cases likely came through incidents of accidental cross-contamination, which may occur in the complex feed and manufacturing system.''

 

There have been 14 cases of BSE diagnosed in Canada since 2003, the most recent found in Alberta in August.

 

When the first case was discovered the US, Japan, South Korea, Australia and several other countries imposed a temporary import ban on Canadian beef.

 

The latest agency report involves a five-year-old dairy cow from British Columbia's Fraser Valley which tested positive for the disease in June.

 

The food source was narrowed down to an unnamed food supplier of heifer ration that also manufactured food for other, non-ruminant animals that contained material prohibited from cattle, sheep and goat feed.

 

Two other unnamed feed manufacturers where prohibited material was handled were also mentioned in the report as potential areas for cross-contamination.

 

The report said the feed did not contain banned protein on purpose, but may have been contaminated by equipment used to process non-ruminant feed.

 

The agency said a total of 207 other animals connected to the diseased cow either have been or will be destroyed.

 

When asked if there was concern for other farms that used feed from the suspect manufacturers, Argue said the investigation is limited to feeds that were given to the animals on the same farm at the time.

 

Canada is classified under the world organization for animal health as a controlled BSE risk country.

 

Last year the Canadian government extended regulations to eliminate all risk materials, tissues that have been shown to harbour BSE infection, from all animal food, pet feed and fertilizer.

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