FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2007
Contact: Sandy Courtnage
Another BSE Case Reinforces Need for Limiting Canadian Cattle Imports
GREAT FALLS, MT (Dec. 19, 2007) – The Montana Farmers Union (MFU) today released the following statement regarding the recent announcement of another case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) being discovered in Canada.
“The Montana Farmers Union is on record as strongly opposing the weakening of import regulations regarding cattle over 30 months of age being imported into the United States.
“This latest case of BSE is in a 13-year-old Alberta beef cow, and fortunately did not make its way into the food or export chain. However, U.S. ranchers have yet to recover fully from the discovery of the 2003 BSE case. This situation will not help.
“It should be the mission of the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to protect U.S. cattle producers and American consumers. Consequently, the Montana Farmers Union calls on USDA to reverse its rule allowing cattle over 30 months to be eligible for importation in the U.S.
“Although country-of-origin labeling (COOL) appears to be on an implementation track by September 2008, the fact remains that it currently is not in place. Canadian cattle imports coupled with recent problems with imported food for both human and pet consumption point to the critical need for COOL implementation without delay. The current situation leaves consumers wary and worried about navigating a global food system with obvious safety gaps.
“It is generally agreed that older cattle carry a higher risk of having BSE than do younger animals. We do not believe the risk highlighted by yet another BSE case in Canada is acceptable to consumers or to beef cattle ranchers throughout the United States.”