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Governor Brownback Affirms Safety of Kansas Beef, Milk

Press Release

Location: Topeka, KS

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman called on Kansans to continue to show their support of the agriculture industry by continuing to buy beef and dairy products.

The USDA confirmed this afternoon that a single case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) has been identified in a California dairy cow. BSE is a neurodegenerative disease found in cattle.

"Consumers should remain confident that beef and milk in Kansas is safe. This case does not present a risk to the food supply or public health," Governor Brownback said. "Kansas cattle and dairy producers provide safe, healthy products. I had beef for lunch today."

Milk does not transmit BSE. Additionally, BSE is not found in bovine muscle tissue.

"The surveillance system worked," Agriculture Secretary Rodman said. "This case was identified in an animal that did not enter the food supply."

The United States has had longstanding, interlocking safeguards to protect human and animal health against BSE. For public health, these measures include the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ban on specified risk materials, or SRMs, from the food supply. SRMs are parts of the animal that are most likely to contain the BSE agent if it is present in an animal.

The USDA also bans all nonambulatory (sometimes called "downer") cattle from entering the human food chain.

For animal health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on ruminant material in cattle feed prevents the spread of the disease in the cattle herd.

According to USDA, in 2011, there were only 29 cases worldwide, which was a 99 percent reduction in BSE cases since the peak in 1992 of 37,311 cases. This is the fourth confirmed case of BSE in the United States. Previous cases were in Washington state in 2004, Texas in 2005 and Alabama in 2006.

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