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WASHINGTON — Despite the confirmation of a third case of mad cow disease in the U.S., the American government intends to scale back testing for the brain-wasting disorder blamed for the deaths of more than 150 people in Europe.
The U.S. Agriculture Department boosted its surveillance after finding the first case of mad cow disease in the U.S. in 2003. About 1,000 tests are run daily, up from about 55 daily in 2003. The testing program detected an infected cow in Alabama last week and further analysis confirmed Monday the animal had mad cow disease.
Still, a reduction in testing has been in the works for months. The department’s chief veterinarian, John Clifford, mentioned it when he announced the new case of mad cow disease.
“As we approach the conclusion of our en-hanced surveillance program, let me offer a few thoughts,” Clifford said, explaining the U.S. will follow international standards for testing.
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns pointed out testing is not a food safety measure. Rather, it’s a way to find out the prevalence of the disease. – CALS