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CU Statement On Mad Cow Disease Found In Canada

TUESDAY, MAY 20, 2003


“Consumers Union commends the U.S. government for its fast-action in stopping imports of Canadian beef in light of the discovery of a case of mad cow disease in Alberta. This incident only serves to underscore the urgent need for the U.S. to dramatically step up its own food safety testing program and be vigilant about checking for mad cow disease in beef. The U.S. currently tests less than 20,000 cows a year out of a total herd of 100 million. By contrast in Europe, every single animal above a given age gets tested for this fatal brain-wasting disease, which is transmissible to humans. The U.S. needs to be far more pro-active in protecting the American food supply,” says Mike Hansen, PhD, Senior Research Associate with Consumers Union’s Consumer Policy Institute.
“Consumers Union is also concerned that the Canadian cow which tested positive for mad cow disease was rendered. Rendered cattle protein is commonly used as food for pets, swine and chickens. It is imperative that Canadian authorities determine what happened to the rendered protein from this infected animal, since eating this protein could spread the disease. For several years, Consumers Union has urged the US Food and Drug Administration to prohibit any use of rendered cattle protein in the feed of any other food animal, and we urge the agency to take that step now to further protect the public,” adds Hansen.
Mike Hansen, 914-378-2452
Jean Halloran, 914-378-2457