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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the diagnosis of BSE in a 13-year-old beef cow in Alberta this morning. The CFIA is currently conducting a full epidemiological investigation consistent with international guidelines and will release its report when it is completed.

The animal was identified at the farm level by the national surveillance program, which has detected all cases found in Canada. The program targets the highest risk cattle populations and has tested approximately 190,000 animals since 2003. The surveillance results reflect an extremely low incidence of BSE in Canada.

The animal was born before the implementation of Canada's feed ban in 1997 and it falls within the age range of previous cases detected in Canada under the national BSE surveillance program.

Although this was not welcome, it is not unexpected and we expect that there will continue to be a small number of cases detected over the next 10 years as the level of BSE continues to decline. Canada has an extensive surveillance system in place (that exceeds the recommended international standards) to detect cases of BSE and this proves that the system is working.

Canada was recognized by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as a controlled risk country. This status acknowledges the effectiveness of Canada's BSE surveillance, mitigation and eradication measures. Even with the additional case(s), Canada is considered a minimal risk country for BSE, based on criteria established by the OIE and this case will not affect Canada's risk status.

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