The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has expanded its Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) surveillance testing programme to include a one-off test effort to determine whether BSE is actually present in the US cattle population, and if so, at what level. Cattle from populations considered high risk will be targeted in the programme, including the testing of older animals.

The USDA has estimated that there are 446,000 cattle considered high risk in the US, however it has not confirmed the total number to be tested. This new testing regime, which has already commenced, is due to be fully implemented on June 1, 2004 and run for approximately 12-18 months.

The Japanese Government has been impervious to the announcement, with the Agricultural Ministry stating there had been no progress to date in terms of recommencing trade between the US and Japan.

Source: Meat & Livestock Australia