USDA Announcement Regarding BSE Negative Test Result
Jan Lyons, cattle producer, Manhattan, Kansas
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
July 2, 2004

"The United States Department of Agriculture has just released the confirmatory results of the second inconclusive BSE (also known as mad cow disease) test.

"Using the gold standard of BSE testing, immunohistochemistry, the government has confirmed that the animal did not have BSE.  USDA announced on Tuesday, June 29, 2004 this animal had an inconclusive test result.

"This result is not unexpected. As part of USDA’s expanded BSE surveillance program, a rapid screening test is used as the first step in a two-part testing process. USDA expected some inconclusive results from this initial step. Because the rapid tests are sensitive, they are subject to occasional inconclusive results that later prove to be negative. It is a little like going through the airport metal detector. We all have had the detector beep on us at least once, but it didn’t mean we were carrying a prohibited item. It simply meant more testing was needed.

"The rapid test allows the government to conduct a strong and statistically valid targeted surveillance for BSE. America’s cattle producers support the expanded effort as a way to determine the prevalence of BSE, if it exists in this country, and eliminate it.

"While this animal did not have BSE, the government has indicated that finding some additional cases of the disease is possible through the expanded surveillance program. In addition to keeping this particular animal out of the food supply, food safety is assured because USDA prohibits from the food supply any material that could carry the BSE agent (such as brain and spinal cord). These are removed before processing.

"As America’s beef producers, our livelihood depends on providing the safest beef in the world. As a rancher, a mother and a grandmother, I know the beef I produce is served in homes around the world, including my family’s home. Providing safe and wholesome beef remains our number one priority."

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