- WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- First-round
screening tests returned "inconclusive" results for mad cow disease
from one animal and samples were being submitted for final and more sophisticated
analysis, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday.
- Results were expected in the next four to seven days.
USDA declined to give details on the suspect animal or where it was tested.
But officials said the carcass was being held out of processing and did
not enter the food or feed supply.
- Under USDA's procedures, it announces "inconclusive"
results only when two rapid screening tests indicate more testing is appropriate.
The determinative tests are conducted at a USDA laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
- It was the third "inconclusive" result since
June when USDA began stepped-up surveillance tests for the brain-wasting
disease, which can be spread to humans through consumption of infected
meat. Final-round tests determined the two other cases were negative. Some
113,000 cattle have been tested as of Monday.
- Andrea Morgan, associate deputy administrator of the
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the sample came from an
animal that was part of a "high risk population," which would
suggest it was an older animal or displayed symptoms that called attention
- The first U.S. case of mad cow disease was discovered
late last year. Most nations banned U.S. beef as a result. U.S. officials
say, thanks to safeguards, U.S. meat is safe to eat and have been negotiating
to re-open export markets.
- Asked about the impact of the test result on talks with
Japan, which has barred U.S. beef since last December, USDA Associate Deputy
Administrator Andrea Morgan said, "I would not expect that that would
affect them" because of the steps already taken by the agency to prevent
the spread of the disease.
- However, Morgan, who works for USDA's Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service, said she was not involved in the U.S. negotiations
with Japan on reopening its market.
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