|The roundtable discussion on June 9. was hosted by Johanns. The U.S. beef industry officials discussed the country`s position and actions since the enhanced surveillance program was initiated in June 2004 for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
The discussion, titled `The Safety of North American Beef and Economic Effects of BSE on the U.S. Beef Industry,` joined United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials, producers, packers and others to discuss the science of the disease, economic impact and detection of the disease in cattle.
Since the increased precautions, 375,000 animals from the targeted cattle population were tested for BSE using a rapid test. Three of these animals were given immunohistochemistry (IHC) test, which is internationally recognized as a confirmatory test for BSE.All three cases tested negative.
The U.S. hopes to reopen beef trade with Japan, Korea and Canada, countries that stopped receiving U.S. beef after a case of BSE was discovered in December 2003.
A second U.S. mad cow disease scare occurred recently when tissue samples taken from a downer cow gave conflicting test results, which remain unconfirmed. `I feel very strongly that this information should not impact our discussions with Japan, Korea or Canada,` he adds.
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