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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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International Activities - FDA Hosts International BSE Discussions

FDA Veterinarian Newsletter January/February 2004 Volume XIX, No 1

The Food and Drug Administration, particularly individuals of the Center for Veterinary Medicine, met and had discussions with government and industry officials from a number of countries during January and early February concerning the implications of the first case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) found in the U.S.

The foreign representatives wanted to know what FDA and CVM are doing to be sure that animal feed and other FDA-regulated products that have the potential to contain the BSE agent are appropriately safeguarded. These countries import a number of products from the U.S. , and continued trade depends on how FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are controlling BSE risk. CVM is treating these meetings and other related correspondence from foreign regulators with the highest priority.

Officials came from Japan , Canada , Mexico , and some of the countries of Central America , South America , and the Caribbean to meet with FDA officials. FDA officials, in cooperation with USDA officials, also met with several agricultural attachés from Washington, D.C.-based embassies in January to discuss BSE.

FDA officials from CVM, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), and Office of International Programs (OIP) met on January 8 with officials from Japan 's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, from Japan 's Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, and from Japan 's Food Safety Commission. The representatives discussed BSE control measures in animal feed and food additives.

On January 13, CVM, CFSAN, and OIP representatives met in separate meetings with officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and from Mexico 's Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (SAGARPA) to discuss current feed safety measures to control BSE in the U.S.

Both the Canadian and Mexican delegations expressed a strong desire to coordinate changes in Canada with any changes that FDA may make in its feed ban, as these countries are also considering such changes in their national requirements.

CVM representatives met with representatives of the Mexican feed, food, and animal industries on January 26 at USDA to discuss CVM measures to control BSE in animal feeds.

CVM and OIP representatives also met at USDA on January 12 with a large number of agricultural attachés based in the foreign embassies in Washington , D.C. , to discuss CVM's measures to control BSE in animal feeds. On January 31, CVM met with the EU agricultural attachés at the Irish Embassy to discuss the latest BSE control measures being taken by CVM, including those measures publicly announced on January 26.

On February 4, CVM met with the Chief Veterinary Officers of a number of countries from the regions of Central America , South America , and the Caribbean to learn more about FDA's latest initiatives to assure the safety of animal feeds with regard to the risk from BSE.