By Dwayne Klassen
WINNIPEG - Potentially contaminated feed recently distributed to farms in Ontario and Quebec posed, at most, a negligible risk to animal health, according to a risk assessment completed by veterinary experts for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, or CFIA.
The assessment determined that the probability of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease, being present in the feed was extremely remote, making it highly unlikely that exposed animals could develop the disease in the coming years, the CFIA said in a release.
As a result, there is no food safety concern associated with any exposed animals, the CFIA said.
Canada requires the removal of all tissues known to harbor BSE infectivity from every animal slaughtered for human consumption.
Furthermore, in the context of BSE, Canadian and international health experts agree that milk and milk products are safe, the CFIA said. Consequently, these animals can enter slaughter streams and continue to be used for milk production.
All exposed animals will be permanently identified, which will enable Canada to continue to meet specific technical import requirements of certain trading partners, the CFIA said.
Feed distributed to farms has been removed, disposed of and replaced. Feed that had not yet entered the distribution system has also been accounted for and disposed of under CFIA supervision.
This incident represents a violation of Canada's feed ban, and the CFIA's precautionary actions were taken to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of the ban and to limit the level of BSE in Canada, the release said. An enforcement investigation is under way.
Information provided by the supplier, Agribrands Canada Inc., indicated that a very small amount of meat and bone meal came into contact with ingredients used in the production of ruminant feed. The supplier moved quickly to remove any feed that made its way to the farm level.
Teams of CFIA inspectors visited approximately 100 farms in Ontario and Quebec, the release said.