The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) continues its investigations into the two recent cases of BSE.

Based on records of feed purchases and use, the CFIA has confirmed that the animal reported on January 2, born in October 1996 therefore making it eight years old, was exposed to feed rations containing meat and bone meal. This feed was produced before the 1997 feed ban, when the inclusion of meat and bone meal in ruminant feeds was allowed. This finding concludes the feed component of the investigation.

The CFIA is working towards enhancing the existing ruminant feed ban. A series of proposed regulatory amendments (published in Canada Gazette, Part I, on December 11, 2004) would require the removal and redirection of bovine specified risk materials (SRM) from all animal feed, pet food and fertilizers. These measures would provide an additional level of security, by preventing potentially infectious material from entering any animal feed, pet food or fertilizer, which could be accidentally consumed by cattle or other ruminants.

Investigators are also collecting information for the third case of BSE, occurring in an animal found early last week, pertaining to feed used on the farm of origin. The CFIA is tracing records from the farm of origin and investigating feed retailers and manufacturers. As a result of the investigation of the animal, borne in 1998, an additional 15 cattle from the infected animal's birth cohort have been identified and placed under individual animal quarantines. All live animals from the birth cohort, currently 37 cattle, will be tested.

A comprehensive epidemiological investigation has been initiated by the CFIA, but it is too early to tell if any possible links may exist between these two cases.

CFIA officials expect to release the details of a review of Canada's feed ban next week. International animal health and feed experts are expected to participate in the review.

Source: Government release