FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                             

November 30, 2001                                                                                                                                        

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OAKLAND, CA – NMA is pleased to learn that a Harvard University-led Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Risk Assessment has determined that, because of intervention measures previously put into practice, BSE does not pose a significant risk to either animal or human health in the United States.  Results of the study were presented today by Dr. George Gray of Harvard University  to the USDA and made available to interested parties.  The full study is available on the USDA web site (


In a briefing held at USDA in Washington, DC, Dr. Gray described the careful process by which the team of risk analysis experts gathered information on BSE’s spread and the U.S. meat processing industry.  They then used this information to create a computerized simulation model which could evaluate the risk of BSE if in entered the United States.  Even if a case was identified, there was relatively little possibility of infectivity into the human food chain. 


While the researchers found it was not possible to rule out BSE having already been introduced into the United States from the livestock imported from the U.K. before importations were banned in 1989, not a single case of animal infection has been found through USDA’s surveillance program.  This is a program which is targeted at neurologically handicapped livestock and other high-risk animals.


USDA officials present at the briefing confirmed various ways in which they are considering bolstering their program vigilance and further information on such proposals will be forthcoming  NMA looks forward to working with the Agency to continue protecting the American public from this disease.


National Meat Association is a non-profit trade association representing meat packers and processors, as well as equipment  manufacturers and suppliers who provide services to the meat industry. The association, with over 600 members throughout the United States, includes membership in Canada, Australia and Mexico.