US Calms Korean Mad Cow Panic

KOREA - The undersecretary for food safety at the US reasserted the safety of American beef at a recent conference to Korean correspondents.
calendar icon 6 May 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Richard Raymond, who practiced medicine for 17 years, asserted that the supply of American beef is among the safest in the world, elaborating on preventative measures that the United States has developed against mad cow disease, scientifically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), since the discovery of the first case of BSE in Britain in 1986.

"SRM removal alone reduces the potential exposure to consumers of BSE by 99 percent."
Richard Raymond, undersecretary for food safety at the US.

“The single most important thing we can do to protect human health regarding BSE is the removal from the food supply of specified risk materials (SRMs),” Raymond said. “According to the 2005 Harvard Risk Assessment, SRM removal alone reduces the potential exposure to consumers of BSE by 99 percent.”

According to the Korean news agency DongA, Raymond said that slaughter facilities cannot carry out their slaughter operations without the continuous presence of the USDA inspection personnel and that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) under the department employs over 9,000 personnel, including 7,800 full-time in-plant and other front-line personnel to constantly monitor slaughter operations.

The under secretary explained that the USDA, which conducted targeted BSE surveillance testing on 20,000 cattle to be slaughtered, has strengthened its surveillance effort since June 2004 by increasing the number of cattle subject to testing to 1,000 per day. He said that some 700,000 cattle were tested over the past two years.

Raymond said that, out of over 759,000 animals tested, only two additional cattle have been detected with BSE since the discovery of the first BSE case in the United States in 1993, and both of them were born prior to initiation of the ban on ruminant feed in August 1997.

  • View the DongA story by clicking here.

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