• USDA says animal tests positive for 'Mad Cow'

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced on June 24 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has received final test results from The Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, England, confirming that a sample from an animal that was blocked from the food supply in November 2004 has tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as "Mad Cow" disease.

According to a news release, Johanns also directed USDA scientists to work with international experts to thoughtfully develop a new protocol that includes performing dual confirmatory tests in the event of another "inconclusive" BSE screening test.

"We are currently testing nearly 1,000 animals per day as part of our BSE enhanced surveillance program, more than 388,000 total tests, and this is the first confirmed case resulting from our surveillance," Johanns said. "I am encouraged that our interlocking safeguards are working exactly as intended. This animal was blocked from entering the food supply because of the firewalls we have in place. Americans have every reason to continue to be confident in the safety of our beef."

Following the last U.S. BSE discovery in 2003, multiple Asian nations ceased imports of American beef. The resulting increase in demand for American poultry and pork products by those nations played a large role in the increase of pizza toppings prices. (Read also OPERATIONS: Pizza toppings price trend shows no sign of reversing.)

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