EDMONTON, Alta. — Another 180 cattle were slaughtered yesterday but investigators still appear no closer to finding the information they need to get the U.S. to lift its beef ban.
Food-safety officials yesterday warned they might never pinpoint the origin of the mad cow disease infecting the animal that last week sparked this latest export crisis. Doing so could help get the U.S., Canada’s biggest beef customer to lift its ban on Canadian beef imports.
“Right now, it’s up to countries to decide for themselves whether or not they should lift the ban, based on the information they’re getting. For some, it might require knowing exactly what the origin of the infection was. For others it might not,” explained Gilles Lavoie, director-general of Market Industry Services Branch for Agriculture Canada.
According to Lavoie, the U.S. has not requested specifically that the origin of the infection be discovered. But the ban is still on.
The ban on Canadian beef imports is also still on for Australia, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, the European Union, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Barbados, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, El Salvador, Peru and Mexico.
Investigators yesterday were focussing their efforts on a Saskatchewan farm, where the infected cow may have been exposed to bone-meal supplements.
Also yesterday, a U.S. company asked customers to return an Alberta-produced dog food, for fear it might have come from the cow that tested positive for mad cow disease. But investigators say the cow in question was rendered for chicken feed. And there is no known risk to dogs or evidence that dogs could transmit the disease to humans, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The voluntary return was just a precaution to prevent discarded dog food from being mixed in with feed for cattle, goats or sheep.
As much as $24- million of Canadian beef is being returned to Canada by countries fearful of importing mad cow disease, industry officials revealed yesterday.
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