BSE Prevention in North America Conference

News Flash     

USAHA News Flash - BSE Prevention in North America Conference
On January 27, 2005, a BSE Prevention in North America conference was held in Washington, D.C. The conference was sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association, American Meat Institute Foundation, Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Canadian Meat Council, Livestock Exporters Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Grain and Feed Association, National Meat Association, National Milk Producers Federation, and the National Renderers Association.
The meeting was well attended and the agenda packed full of experts in the BSE and risk analysis field. The materials and presentations from the conference are available at
Mr. Jim Hodges, President of the American Meat Institute Foundation, provided an extremely useful wrap-up to the Conference.  Some of his points are included below. For detailed information, please see the above AMI link.

  • Every TSE is different - scrapie, CWD, BSE, CJD, etc. have similarities as well as distinct differences
  • New knowledge will arise in the future about these TSE's
  • Feed controls are the single most effective preventive measure
  • The sources of BSE risk to North America were the U.K. imports prior to implementation of a ban on the importation of live cattle and other risk materials
  • Canada, has seen a "clustering" of cases, associated with the grouping of renderers, feed mills and producers; this has limited the distribution of BSE
  • BSE cases are not unexpected but can't just be dismissed
  • Feed ban compliance remains high
  • The dilemma is what else can be done to reduce the time to total elimination and to reduce the number of new cases in the next 5+ years
  • Limited SRM removal reduces infectivity 85-90%
  • A large unknown factor is mis-feeding; this is the most influential variable but there is no reliable data on this
  • Surveillance systems are robust, but subject to error; yet they are more than adequate to define what they set out to do
  • Modeling to look at risk reduction strategies that may be implemented:
1.      Some have no effect
2.      Some have minimal effect
3.      Removal of dead stock from the feed system has the greatest potential for risk reduction (Deads-83% of total infectivity load; Slaughter-17% of total infectivity load) - but not without cost and not without environmental impacts (possibly 2.5 billion pounds of material would require alternative disposal)
4.      Models tell us the number of cases that would be reduced years out are a very low number