Here is a rundown of what is going on with the BSE case today.

  • The USDA announced Tuesday that DNA evidence verifies that the BSE-positive cow found in Washington state originated from a dairy farm in Alberta, Canada. This DNA evidence is based on a comparison of DNA from the brain of the positive cow with the DNA from semen of her sire and was confirmed by both U.S. and Canadian animal-health laboratories.
  • Additional DNA testing continues on a heifer calf on the index farm that was born from the positive cow.
  • The USDA has slaughtered 450 bull calves from a Sunnyside, Wash., operation. Officials decided to depopulate all the operation’s calves because they could not positively identify one of the calves believed to be the offspring of the BSE-positive cow. The depopulation was a precautionary measure, as scientists never have found evidence of maternal transfer of BSE to calves.
  • Restaurant stocks rallied Tuesday after Wendy's and Taco Bell operator Yum Brands said mad-cow fears didn't scare customers away in December. The shares now are largely back to or above their pre-mad-cow levels. Jack in the Box (JBX) is up 11.6 percent from the low it hit the day after the BSE news broke, and McDonald's (MCD) has jumped 9.7 percent.
  • Mexico will consider allowing imports of some cuts of meat as exceptions to its ban. However, that decision could take months and would only occur after Mexico was satisfied that U.S. controls were adequate. Mexico also wants to send its own experts to the United States to examine the controls.
  • The Japanese government is sending a fact-finding team to visit the United States this week to investigate the first case of BSE on a U.S. farm. Before lifting any ban, Japanese officials want the United States to tighten its testing regime and want to know more about the BSE case.
  • The USDA proposes the following changes, which have gained strong industry support from groups such as the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the American Meat Institute:
    • A ban on Specified Risk Materials, such as brain and spinal tissue entering the food chain
    • Increased BSE surveillance of live animals
    • Establishment of a national animal ID system
    • New restrictions on meat derived by advanced meat-recovery systems used to mechanically trim meat from bones.
    • Mandatory test-and-hold: The USDA will require that beef carcasses and beef products from animals undergoing BSE testing must be withheld from the food supply pending test results.
    • Ban on non-ambulatory livestock for human consumption

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