USDA has started the approval process to make test kits that can detect Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy ( BSE) in just four hours available for use in the U.S. Test results are currently available in two to five days with the only BSE test approved for use in the U.S.

The tests are already used in foreign markets and some are produced in the United States. The use of such quick tests would give meat inspectors nearly instant results and help prevent the entry of any meat from infected animals entering the food chain.

The tests are manufactured by Bio-Rad Laboratories, Hercules, Calif; InPro Biotechnology, San Francisco, Calif.; and Abbott Laboratories near Chicago markets a test kit produced in Ireland by Enfer Scientific.

Each company will have to go through licensing with the USDA to market the test here.

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